Category Archives: Bournemouth

Gym (x2), run (x3), turbo, (plus festivals, donkey parts, power outages and a 10k race)

Particular thanks to the marshal at the Longworth 10k who was manfully trying to stop a
small heard of cattle crossing the run route as I passed by

My back had improved further by Monday morning so I went to the gym, but kept to the machines. I gave the Swim Doctor session a miss for once. to go to a meeting at the village hall.

The meeting was about a project to look at a ground-source heating system for the whole village. I’m all in favour if it’s greener (and cheaper) but although the village has a real mix of houses, there are others like ours that is large, very old and built without cavity walls or any thought of energy efficiency. How these schemes work with a lot of energy-inefficient properties is not very clear.

For us, there is the added difficulty that we are ‘listed’ which means we are limited in what we can do to the property because of its age/architectural interest. It all looks quite problematic but what is obvious is that we should all be doing what we can sensibly to insulate and reduce our demand for power.

Hill reps on Tuesday – I managed the usual 8 reps and they were (a little) better and faster than the last two sessions. This time it measured 8.3km and 266 metres of ascent (5.1 miles and 873 feet). Exactly the same run was a kilometre longer last week!

I don’t obsess about my weight but I’m certainly over my cycling-up-mountains weight of under 67kg. I decided that a bit lighter would be a bit better for the 10km race on Sunday so I resigned myself to restraint for a day or two. I got on the turbo in the evening – 45 minutes for just over 22km @ 29.4kph (14 miles @ !8.3mph). It was a bit easier than last time, once I put some more air in the rear tyre.

Down to Bournemouth on Thursday to mow and check the troublesome electrics that had misbehaved last time we were there. All was well. Our older son had asked if he and his girlfriend could come back for the weekend, having just endured a stressful few days over some works to their house (happily resolved, but stressful nonetheless) and they arrived on Thursday evening.

That’s any chance of weight-loss gone, as my wife slips into cooking-overdrive.

On Friday morning I ran to, and back from, the gym with my training partner and did a weights session in between. Autumn is coming and there was a distinct nip in the air first thing. Only about 5.6km (3.5 miles) in total but quicker than usual. The normal stint in the bike shop after that.

No exercise on Saturday, just a lot of ferrying our younger son about from the station and to and from the wedding and evening reception. I could have done with the last taxi trip being before midnight – but at least it saved me from an evening with a bottle of red wine.

Sunday’s 10k race

Sunday morning (at a civilised 11am) saw the local 10km race I entered with my training partner and his wife – also joined by both our sons and our older son’s girlfriend. It’s a small village event but sees about 150 entrants, and I’m sure 80% of runners were wearing club vests. Last year, the winner – an under 18 – clocked 33.22 and it would have required 52 minutes to get in the top half of finishers. It’s not even a fast course!

The village sits a bit above the Thames so the race starts with a decent drop (on a rough stony track) to a section through fields and along the river itself, before turning back towards the village (with a sizeable hill) and a a narrow bridleway before the finish. It’s all off road and although it was dry, a lot of the paths were cracked and a fair bit of care was needed.

For me, it was going to be less of a ‘race’ and more of a ‘run’, I had no real target in mind but 56 minutes was the dream. I found it difficult not to push fairly hard in the ‘race’ environment so it didn’t end up as a gentle jog.

Although my Garmin registered a bit under the 10k, my son’s device showed it at just about the right distance and my personal timing gave me a time of 52 minutes 58 seconds, which was well beyond my highest hopes on what is billed as ‘not a course for personal bests’.

Our older son broke 50 minutes and younger son was just behind me. Great times all round including our friends and older son’s girlfriend.

An excellent event, well organised, friendly and with a lovely route (despite the treacherous ground underfoot in places). My only gripe is that the age categories for the results were too wide – veterans were in one group which included everyone over 44 years of age!

A fine weekend with all the family around, a run with our sons and a decent time, I loved it.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: He who refuses to obey cannot command

2. BBC News website: Music festival goes ahead but orgies are banned

Revellers have begun to arrive at Itanda Falls on the banks of the River Nile for the Nyege Nyege music festival. Uganda’s parliament had issued a directive that it should be cancelled over alleged immorality.

However, the festival will bring in much-needed revenue following the Covid-19 lockdown and promotes the country’s profile as a tourism hub so festival organisers have been issued with a number of guidelines to follow, including that minors are barred from the venue, sex orgies and nudity are prohibited as well as vulgar language, songs, expressions and gestures.

I’m not a festival goer, but does that undermine the whole idea of festivals?

3. BBC News website: BBC News website: The cost of traditional Chinese medicine?

Nigeria’s customs service has intercepted 7,000 donkey penises at an airport, that were headed to Hong Kong. The animal parts were packed in 16 sacks found in the animal export section.

The consignment is estimated to be worth 200 million Naira ($478,000; £416,000). Donkey parts are sought after in China where they are used to make traditional medicine but Nigerian law forbids such exports.

4. BBC News website: First instalment of invasion reparations paid

In a rare case of accountability for violations of international law, Uganda has handed over $65m (£55m) as the first instalment of a fine it was ordered to pay the Democratic Republic of Congo for invading the east of the country two decades ago.

In February, the International Court of Justice ( ICJ) ordered Uganda to pay $325m as reparations, made up as: $225m for damages to persons; $40m for damages to property; and $60m for the looted resources.

5. BBC News website: Sale of iPhones banned if a power adapter is not included

Brazilian consumer agency Senacon said Apple’s decision not to include power adapters with new iPhones discriminates against consumers by selling an “incomplete product” and Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security said it has fined Apple 12.275 million reais (£2.04m).

Apple stopped including power adapters and headphones in iPhone boxes with the launch of iPhone 12 in 2020 saying that the move would help reduce Apple’s carbon footprint, by making packaging smaller.

Apple said it will appeal against the ban.

and there I was thinking that no adapter or headphones was just cost saving

Gym, run, (plus sheep in space, encouraging drinking and something strange in the kitchen)

Back running along one of the usual routes

Back to Oxfordshire on Tuesday after a great long weekend in Bournemouth, then sorting ourselves out and doing washing. The drought has now broken – amazing how quickly grass recovers.

Ramsey’s The Omil’s kitchen nightmares

I drove back to Bournemouth on Wednesday night for an early Thursday meeting with the electrician I had contacted about the kitchen sockets’ circuit that went wrong and kept tripping over the weekend. I waited beyond the agreed time and then phoned.

He said he’d been ringing on the doorbell and had got no reply. Eventually we worked it out – in my original call I’d told him that my next door neighbour, Nathan, had given me his name, and I gave the address. He had registered the name but had completely ignored the address – and then went next door to an entirely different person he knew called Nathan. No electrician was coming

On the off chance, I tried resetting the trip switch for the kitchen sockets’ circuit. It stayed and the sockets in the kitchen all work. It tripped perhaps 10 times while we were investigating the problem initially – how can that happen?

I have a list of other electricians but I guess there’s no point in getting one to come to the house just to see everything working properly.

It wasn’t a complete waste of time – I saw our older son and his girlfriend who are having a break at the house – one of the benefits of ‘working from home’ is that, for this purpose, ‘home’ can be anywhere.

I also picked up some keys that I’d forgotten to take back after the weekend, did some gardening, cleared the conservatory gutters and fixed one of the slipped conservatory roof panels.

Back to Oxfordshire (again) in the afternoon and some semblance of normality returned in the shape of a good gym session on Friday morning, followed by the bike shop.

A lady came in seeking help in setting up a turbo trainer for her husband – so I went on Saturday and did that for them. It made me think of getting on mine in the early evening – but I didn’t. A bit of demotivation after the cancellation of the triathlon, I expect.

I got out for a run on Sunday – my first for two weeks. No great pace but I pushed on for 12km (7.5 miles) and enjoyed it. There were people setting up dinks stations for an organised race with 5km and 10km distances – I’d not heard about it which is a shame as it would have been fun to enter.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: A person with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace

2. BBC News website: Human remains in suitcases purchased from auction

The family had gone to an auction and purchased a trailer-load of goods – which included the suitcases – that were being sold as part of an attempt to clear abandoned goods out of a locker.

Bidders at similar auctions typically do not get to inspect the abandoned items closely before purchasing them with many bids placed in the hope of a surprise valuable haul but on unpacking the items they discovered the remains of two young children. The bodies had probably been in storage for several years and the victims are thought to have been aged between five and 10 when they died.

Sad and horrible

3. BBC News website: Japan’s young adults – too sober

Japan’s younger generation drinks less alcohol than their than their parents – a move that has hit taxes from beverages like sake (rice wine).

The national tax agency has stepped in with a national competition to come up with ideas to reverse the trend. The “Sake Viva!” campaign hopes to come up with a plan to make drinking more attractive – and boost the industry.

Reaction has been mixed, with some criticism about the bid to promote an unhealthy habit but others have posted quirky ideas online – such as famous actresses “performing” as virtual-reality hostesses in digital clubs.

4. BBC News website: Shaun the Sheep heading on a mission to the Moon

Animators Aardman (creators of ‘Wallace and Gromit’) has announced that the famous stop-motion TV character will be aboard the unmanned Artemis I mission. The mission will carry a range of mementos with cultural significance and will see the toy Shaun fly almost 311,000 miles (500,000 km) from Earth.

The European Space Agency said “We’re very happy he’s been selected for the mission and we understand, although it might be a small step for a human, it’s a giant leap for lambkind.”

Amy Pieters – update

Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters has been moved to an intensive neuro-rehabilitation facility in the Netherlands as she continues her recovery from severe brain damage suffered in a training crash in December 2021.

In April, an update said Pieters could recognise people, understand what was being said and that she was also able to “carry out more and more assignments.” However, doctors were unable to confirm what the three-time Madison world champion’s long term outlook would be.

I wish her all the strength in the world

Gym, swims (x3), turbo, walks (x3), rides (x3) and triathlon training – but in vain

Bournemouth at its best

For some time now, Mondays have seen a run in the morning and the swim doctor session in the early evening. This week it was gym and swim doctor – that’s me living life on the ragged edge.

No fitting in a lake swim this week which is a shame as it’s getting warmer here in the UK as we head towards another hot spell later in the week. That made Tuesday’s decision to get on the turbo trainer even more ridiculous – but I keep saying I must get back on the bike ahead of the triathlon (in less than 6 weeks) and I keep failing to do it.

I dripped my way through 30 minutes @29.3kph (18.2mph). Although the heat made it hard, my legs felt pretty good.

Afterwards, I took a look at the details of the triathlon. It’s an Olympic (or ‘Standard’) distance race which should be 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run. It seems that this one is 45.5km on the bike and 10.2km run – I’m not sure whether to be cross that it’s over-length or pleased at the greater value for money (oh, the irony of writing that).

The big things are to continue with long open water swims, to get out on the bike (and ride the triathlon course) and to keep doing 10k runs. Do I put the tri-bars on the bike and do I stick with the toe clips rather than clip-in pedals to save a shoe change into cycling shoes with cleats? I don’t think the bars or cleats were missed at all in the sprint triathlons but that might change for a longer race?

On Wednesday we drove down to Bournemouth ahead of our annual trip with friends. Thursday was spent doing some gardening and chores about the house. The bad news was that an email arrived from the organiser of September’s triathlon announcing its cancellation and the putting of the organising company into administration. Damn.

Everyone arrived in the evening in time for food and drink.

On Friday we rode to Holmsley in the New Forest and walked the Holmsley Inclosure. It was very hot so we adapted the walk to keep more to the trees than the open heathland. We crossed what should have been a stream but was little more than a muddy puddle – the drought continues to bite. Very hot but a fine day out with a pub lunch – and a swim around a buoy out in the bay in the afternoon (nearly 400m of swimming). A walk to a very good Moroccan/Lebanese restaurant in Southbourne for supper in the evening.

On Saturday we were brave and cycled to ‘The Magic of Thailand’ in King’s Park. It was a risk and could have been anything – but it was surprisingly good. Stalls with clothing, souvenirs, lots of street food and traditional dancing, a cookery demonstration, thai massage (which the other 5 all tried), thai singing, thai boxing and a ladyboy show (slightly less sure about that, personally).

Still very hot but an enjoyable day and another swim around the buoy in the afternoon in a slightly rougher sea. I enjoyed it but being a distance from the shore in noticeable (but not exactly huge) waves was testing enough for me. I don’t swim in very straight lines at the best of times but I found it even harder in the sea once the waves and current got going.

Overnight, the only downer on the weekend was that the electrics tripped in the house. The problem is with the circuit powering the sockets in the kitchen. The cooker did work (as it’s on a separate circuit) and the same for the boiler, we powered the fridge from an extension lead from the sitting room and the kettle and toaster were moved to the conservatory. The microwave could have been moved to any convenient plug out of the kitchen. The remaining issue is the dishwasher which couldn’t be moved (it’s fitted in the space).

Sunday we cycled to the Russell-Coates museum towards the centre of Bournemouth. Set in the family’s house, it was fascinating. Russell-Coates was a great philanthropist who made his money through ownership of the Royal Bath Hotel in the town and spent a lifetime travelling and collecting art and artefacts from around the world.

On Monday, we cycled a few miles to the old Throop water mill and set out on a walk around part of the River Stour Way. I’d downloaded a route which turned out to require us to walk across the river. Being unable to manage that, we ended up scrambling through some brambles, across a small ditch and up a steep bank to get over a fence and to a bridge – that turned a walk of 8km into one of 12km.

On Tuesday morning everyone departed to the accompaniment of rain – the first we have had for a few weeks – very welcome and, for us, good timing. It was a terrific break – great friends, excellent company, fantastic weather and some very entertaining trips.

In all, about 65km of cycling, over 20km of walking and about 800m of swimming for me – a triathlon spread over four days. It was a fine long weekend on all fronts.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy

2. BBC News website: Cash is King (again)?

People are going back to cash to keep tighter control on their spending as living costs soar, according to new research by the Post Office. Post offices handled £801m in personal cash withdrawals in July, up more than 20% from a year earlier and the most since records began five years ago.

The chair of the Cash Action Group said it showed people are “literally counting the pennies” as they grapple with rising prices. “People will be taking out cash and physically putting it into pots, saying ‘this is what I have for bills, this is what I have for food, and this is what’s left’.”

Sadly, some might find that, after the pots for bills and food, there is nothing left

3. BBC News website: Global warming and changing weather patterns affect the water supply for the Panama Canal

Completed in 1914, the waterway links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and nearly halved the travel time between the US West Coast and Europe. Ships pass through a series of locks along its 50-mile (80km) length and are lifted up to 85ft (26m) above sea level before being lowered again. Every time a ship goes through the locks, 55m gallons (250m litres) of fresh water is used, then released into the sea. On average, 37 ships go through the locks every day, using more than 2bn gallons (9bn litres) of fresh water.

In the exceptionally dry year of 2019, the canal authorities had to reduce the amount of water they used to operate the locks, which meant that ships could not carry such heavy cargo because there was less water between the keel of the ship and the bottom of the canal. The canal authorities are looking at ways to store more water in rainy years to ensure a sufficient supply in drier times and deepening existing artificial lakes to capture more rainwater.

None of the options are easy.

4. BBC News website: They have pizza in Italy???

Domino’s Pizza’s last stores in Italy have been closed after the firm that operated its outlets in the country filed for bankruptcy. Domino’s had struggled to win over customers in the birthplace of pizza since launching there in 2015 and the franchise holder, ePizza SpA, was hit by the pandemic.

News of the fast food giant’s exit from the country was celebrated by some social media users.

Swim, run, gym, run, plus detective work, ties and football’s coming (come) home

After the weekend in Bournemouth, the swim doctor session Monday evening was a mixture of different strokes and drills for 1,100m – my leg kick is still terrible (when I remember to do it).

On Tuesday I did the weekend’s washing and ironed the easy stuff. I am almost adequate when it comes to handkerchiefs and pillowcases.

I’ve still not regained my appetite for a lot of exercise since the ultra. When it became clear on Tuesday that there wasn’t going to be any lake swim this week, I didn’t replace that with anything. It’s good that I have the weekly swim doctor session, had the cycling out in the alps, and walked and cycled during the weekend in Bournemouth or I would have done even less.

On Wednesday I drove up to London to see your younger son and helped him with a couple of jobs around his flat. Orders placed for a new transformer for the lights under the wall cupboards in the kitchen, and a new washing machine to be delivered on Sunday.

Thursday felt like it was time to get back to some more regular exercise and I ran to the gym and back with my training partner (a total of 5.8km – 3.6 miles) and did some weights while we were there. I’m not sure I love arriving at the gym already sweating but it does feel more sensible to run there than drive.

I ran with my wife on Saturday – a gentle 5.7km (3.5 miles) – as she gets back to running after twisting an ankle a few weeks ago. Three weeks since the ultra and I’m only just getting back my appetite for running. I have no intention of getting back to the amount of running I was doing earlier in the year and will try to be more balanced with the swimming and cycling ahead of the triathlon in September.

Back to London on Sunday to fit the new washing machine and kitchen light transformer for our younger son, then back to watch the English Women’s team win the 2022 Euro Championships in a tight final against an excellent German side – well played the Lionesses. I hope this provides a great boost for women’s sport in the country.

Last weekend the Transcontinental Race started – a self-supported ride from Belgium to Bulgaria (over 4000km – 2500 miles) with no prescribed route, just four compulsory checkpoints on the way. It’s possible to ‘dot watch’ by tracking live progress of every competitor.

In the first 26 hours, the early leader stopped for only 35 minutes and rode 760km (472 miles). On Friday, 4 and a half days into the race, he had been stationary for less than 13 hours. Astonishing.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Don’t be so in love that you can’t tell when it’s raining

2. BBC News website: Personal statements less than personal

An education firm which specialises in helping Chinese students to study in the UK has been advertising to pay people to write university applications for students, including their personal statements.

A spokesman for the firm said it didn’t write personal statements for clients: “We offer a personalised proofreading service to help students, whose native language is not English”. The firm has now withdrawn the job advert, saying it could be “confusing”.

Ah, would that be ‘confusing’ as in ‘perfectly clear but objectionable’?

3. BBC News website: The final wag of the tail

One of the most talked about (and tedious) celebrity disputes has now come to an end. Rebekah Vardy (wife of footballer Jamie Vardy) has lost her defamation case against Coleen Rooney (wife of former footballer Wayne Rooney) who had accused Mrs Vardy of leaking private stories about her to The Sun newspaper.

The ‘Wives and Girlfriends’ of prominent footballers are often referred to as Wags. Colleen Rooney did some smart detective work when she first suspected a close contact was leaking stories about her to the press – leading to the case being referred to as the Wagatha Christie trial.

4. BBC News website: Stop wearing ties to save energy

The Spanish Prime Minister said his government will adopt “urgent” energy-saving measures as European countries suffer record temperatures and strive to become less dependent on Russian gas in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

At a news conference, Mr Sanchez pointed out that he wasn’t wearing a tie and said he wanted ministers, public officials, and workers in the private sector to do the same. He said the move will ensure people stay cooler and therefore lower energy costs, because air conditioners will be used less often.

If only the solutions to all problems were as simple

Run (x2), swim, walk (x2), cycle (plus bulls, AI and kitchen cabinets)

Vicious things those kitchen cabinets

Monday I took a car to the garage and ran back – my first run post-ultra – just 4km (2.5 miles) but it’s a start. Swim doctor session in the evening – I dodged the drills and swam a gentle recovery 1km.

I spent the much of the day on the dismal task of mopping up dirty water. The dishwasher outlet pipe had blocked leading to a couple of days when, unseen, it spewed out water under the kitchen units. A very messy job but fingers crossed that all will be well thanks to a bottle of drain cleaner and a lot of bleach. Perhaps the best thing about the current heatwave is that everything dried well.

On Tuesday, an attempt to run the dishwasher revealed that all was not well as the pipe still failed to drain away the water it discharged. Bit by bit I had to dismantle the whole outlet pipe which was actually blocked in several places. A horrible job reaching under and to the back of the carcasses of the kitchen units, in dirty water and emulsified fat! I ended up with very sore arms and shoulders.

Also on Tuesday one of the friends I’d been cycling with in the alps posted a message on Whatsapp to say he’d just tested positive for Covid. I did a test but it came out negative (the ‘we’ve had Covid’ camp seems to be increasing rapidly but I’m very happy still not to have joined it).

Wednesday showed two things – the dishwasher was sorted and is now sharing its dirty water with the drain outside instead of the kitchen floor – but my arms had suffered in the cause. Both shoulders were sore and both biceps were raw and bruised. It the same way that I need bigger hands and feet for swimming, I need longer arms for kitchen DIY.

With rather reduced arm mobility, I cancelled the week’s planned lake swim and gym session and resigned myself to a low key week for exercise.

On Thursday, my arms were improving, but still a rather fetching black and blue and still sore. I ran in the morning – 5.8km (3.6 miles). With just a 10km run in September’s olympic distance triathlon, it’s good to be able to run because I want to, rather than because I feel that I must.

We drove down to Bournemouth on Thursday night and spent Friday getting the house ready for a weekend with friends who drove down early on Saturday. When they arrived we went for a walk across Hengistbury Head with a picnic on the beach and then walked to Southbourne for supper in the evening – total walking 15km (9.3 miles).

On Sunday we cycled to visit the lovely gardens at Compton Acres – about 24km (15 miles) with stops at Sandbanks and Bournemouth pier for ice cream. Roast chicken Sunday lunch in the evening. Back to Oxfordshire after an excellent weekend.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Don’t set sail on someone else’s star

2. BBC News website: Heatwaves and solar panels

The UK’s heatwave is helping to generate large amounts of solar power – but, ironically, it’s actually too hot for the highest levels of electricity generation.

For solar power generation, the amount of sunshine is more important than the amount of heat as heat brings down the efficiency of solar panels slightly. In the UK the record for peak half-hourly generation is always in April or May, when we get sunny but relatively cool weather.

3. BBC News website: And I thought the ultra was tough running

In 24 hours three men have died from wounds suffered during bull-running festivals in Spain’s Valencia region. They had taken part in the traditional ‘bous al carrer’, when bulls charge through towns, often with people running ahead of them (but sadly, not always far enough).

The three men who died had all been badly injured during events in the past two weeks. 20 people are said to have died in the region in the past eight years.

The mayor of Meliana said the bull was an animal and chance accidents of this type were a risk that people took.

Ah, the bull is an animal …

4. BBC News website: AI – too smart for its own good?

Google has fired one of its engineers who said the company’s artificial intelligence language technology system is sentient and should therefore have its “wants” respected. He said that the system showed self-awareness and could hold conversations about religion, emotions and fears and this led him to believe that behind its impressive verbal skills might also lie a sentient mind.

Google, plus several AI experts, denied the claims and on Friday the company confirmed he had been sacked.

Run (x3), swim, turbo, walk, ride (plus big plants, French and how to avoid repeated stuffing)

The Dayton Hawk, second from the camera got an outing (but just a short one)

The ultra training plan makes no concession for Sunday’s triathlon, so back into it with a run on Monday morning – 8.7km (5.4 miles) round the old Badbury hill fort. No aches or pains but tired legs.

Swim doctor class in the evening. My training partner deserved a gold star for his triathlon swim and I merited detention for mine. I have much work to do before September’s olympic distance race – at the moment a 1500m open water swim feels rather daunting. I’m hoping that the answer is more down to me getting happier with the (still) alien environment of the lake than anything else. Wishful thinking?

There’s a vey nice chap in his 30’s who comes along to the swim doctor sessions (and swims very well). Talking to him last night, we find that he has done 11 full Ironman triathlons. Sort of puts you in your place!

I was planning a long run on Tuesday but, luckily, it rained so I postponed it and got on the turbo later – but I found that the rear tyre was completely flat. I pumped it up and rode for 30 minutes @ 28.2kph (17.5mph). It was hard from the outset but by the time I finished it was becoming very tough – not surprising as I found that the tyre was rapidly emptying itself of air. Just a 30 minute session, but with a fairly high training value.

The training plan has 55km for this week, with a long run of 35km. I’m 115km ahead of the plan over the first 14 weeks and have done a long run of over 32km (the plan’s longest run has been 25km) so although I’m keeping score against the plan, I’m not really following it.

In that spirit I went out on Wednesday morning, on completely unrested legs. With an oat bar for breakfast, two gels during the run and a bit more water than last week, I proved to myself that having a first drink at 20km is too late as the weather gets warmer and the runs longer.

I ran for 36.6km (22.7 miles). I took the first sign of impending cramp in the calf muscles as a good reason to stop but looked for some decent hills late in the run to practice the ultra marathon recommended approach of walking up the big hills and running the rest – that seemed to work well. I creaked for the rest of the day but managed to pick up our younger son from the station as he comes to spend a few days with us during his half term break from his teaching studies.

On Thursday morning everything was working pretty well which was handy as we had agreed to a dog walk with friends, followed by a pub lunch. A bit over 10km, and it was lovely but the legs were tested. I tried the Garmin again – this time 3h 15 minutes used only 18% of the battery which suggests more battery life than the last test – it’s confusing.

No bike shop on Friday because of the Bank Holiday, so I dipped out of the gym session to get an early start to drive down to Bournemouth, to try to miss the Bank Holiday traffic. I did both lawns (which were looking rather meadow-like) and then went for a run – over 10km to meet the week’s target – along the busy seafront, beyond Boscombe Pier and back. Then I mowed the front lawn again to bring it rather more under control.

Bournemouth, Bournemouth, so good I mowed it twice.

On Saturday I dusted off my 1946 Dayton Hawk and cycled in to Faringdon to take part in the cycle club’s vintage bike ride to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. When I say to take part in the bike ride, I really mean ‘turn out at the start to boost the numbers and then cycle home because of the need to get ready for the village’s Jubilee lunch (which was held at the Tithe Barn and was very well attended and very enjoyable).

Another day off exercise on Sunday as e drove to London to take our son back. Rather apprehensive about the traffic heading back into London – it’s terrible most Sundays but the four day weekend might have helped to smooth the return of people to the capital and it was fine.

A strange week with Bank Holidays on Thursday and Friday, no gym and no lake swim – although my friend and training partner smashed a swim on Friday. His ankle seems to be cured – as he gets back to running, I am looking down the barrel of a good beating in September’s triathlon.

100k corner (an occasional place for ultra news, worries and plans)

Week (of 20) Event’s training plan (km) My actual (km)
15 55 56
Cumulative total 529 645

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: A happy man marries the girl he loves; a happier man loves the girl he married

2. BBC News website: Turkey rebrands as Türkiye

Turkey will be known as Türkiye at the United Nations from now on, after it agreed to a formal request from Ankara.

The State broadcaster TRT was quick to make the change as soon as it was announced last year, explaining that among the reasons for the image rebrand was the association with the bird traditionally associated with Christmas, New Year or Thanksgiving. It also pointed out the Cambridge English Dictionary’s definition of one of the meanings of the word as “something that fails badly” or “a stupid or silly person”.

“Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilization, and values,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in December.

Do I now have to have Türkiye at Christmas?

3. BBC News website: The largest known plant on Earth

A seagrass of about 200 sq km (77 sq miles) – roughly three times the size of Manhattan – has been discovered off the coast of Australia.

Using genetic testing, scientists have determined a large underwater meadow in Western Australia is in fact one plant which is believed to have spread from a single seed over at least 4,500 years.

4. BBC News website: Language watchdog promotes French gaming terms

The Académie Française (created in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, and the official custodian of the French language) says “jeu video de competition” should replace “e-sports”, and “streamer” should become “joueur-animateur en direct”.

France’s culture ministry told the AFP news agency that Anglicisms were “a barrier to understanding”. France regularly issues warnings of the “debasement” of its language through imported English words.

Sacré bleu

5. BBC News website: Firm unveils plans for Taser-armed drones

Arizona-based company, Axon, says that the high-tech solution is necessary amid a “fruitless” debate on gun policy in the US and that it has formally begun developing a miniature, lightweight Taser that can be deployed on a drone or robot.

According to the company, “targeting algorithms” will assist operators to aim the device safely and all use-of-force decisions will be made by an authenticated and authorised human operator “who has agreed to take on legal and moral responsibility for any action that takes place”.

Why am I not properly reassured?

Run (x4), swim, ride (x2) plus cycling stupidity, honesty, trains and J-C van Damme

This week was always going to be odd as far as training was concerned but, to give it a fairly normal start, I ran on Monday morning and did the swim doctor session in the evening.

The run was hill reps – tough, as always, but great to have got them out of the way for the week. This time it measured 9.34km and 287m of ascent (5.8 miles and 941 feet). At the pool, the usual swimming instructor was away this week but the stand-in was good and the change meant some different drills which was refreshing.

I ran with my wife on a milder Tuesday morning, 7.2km (4.5 miles). The rest of the day I was playing plumber, replacing some split copper piping and an outside tap.

Originally, we had planned to ski this week but decided not to because it was half-term, unseasonably hot out in the alps and the snow was not great. Of course, as soon as we made the decision, it got cold and snowed heavily. Instead, after domestic stuff, we drove down to Bournemouth on Wednesday afternoon.

We had our fingers crossed as the last time we were there the house alarm triggered in Oxfordshire and I had a wasted journey back. We think it was probably the door to the attic rooms not being shut and moving in a draught – but we can’t be sure.

There was plenty of draught in Bournemouth too – I abandoned a walk down the seafront as I was being sand blasted. We found a fairly new tapas restaurant in a local row of shops in the evening, a modest looking place but great tasting food.

It was blowing a gale and raining really hard all night. The morning was bright and dry, but still windy but I love running down there so I ran along the seafront – 10.2km (6.3 miles) – the first 4km of which was straight into the teeth of a relentless 35kph (22mph) headwind that was gusting up to 57kph (37mph). At times I was almost stopped in my tracks and at one point I passed a chap who had just got off his bike in favour of walking it into the wind but, luckily, the sand being blown towards me wasn’t getting above knee height.

Those 4kms out to Boscombe pier were as hard as any I remember running, only the later part of the Rotterdam marathon in 2019, or the 5k I ran from Les Carroz to Les Molliets up the Col de Pierre Carrée – an alpine climb at over 6.5% – would compare (was that really 2018?). I was about 50 sec/km faster with the wind behind me on the way back along the front.

The exact same run on Friday was, surprisingly, very different. The wind had dropped but swung around 180 degrees and there was a cold and persistent drizzle. For some reason, the Thursday run was 20 seconds slower but recorded as a little longer.

A terrific lunch at The Jetty, overlooking Christchurch Harbour and then back to Oxfordshire after a really good couple of days’ break (but I’ve missed the skiing – just the second year without it in nearly 40).

On Saturday my bike came out into the wide world for the first time this year, blinking in the sunlight. I checked it over and took it for a short 25km (15.5 mile) test ride. The reason was the sportive on Sunday but the first few miles felt so bad that I was wondering what excuse to give for not doing the sportive.

Eventually, I (almost) remembered how to cycle but no matter how many times I have to learn it, the fact that running legs and cycling legs are very different things never fails to come as a horrible shock.

The bike was not sure about coming out of the shed – I think it’s developed agoraphobia over the winter

At the start of the ride is was hovering about freezing. I did a slightly sensible thing and went for the 70 mile and 4065 feet of ascent (113km and 1239m) route instead of the 90 miler – and went for the ‘get round and don’t worry about the time’ approach. Two good decisions as the shorter distance was plenty far enough and although the legs protested they got me up all the big hills. I rode round non-stop in under 4h 50.

I’m happy to go on record that the distance was really too far for the training I’d put in. Not only were the legs not really ‘cycle fit’ but my backside needed much more toughening up before being subjected to nearly 5 hours on the sheet of carbon fibre that passes for my saddle. However, I did it, slowly, but without too much discomfort and I’m pleased with that. It was still enough to earn the ‘Gold Standard’ and I was fourth in my age group.

An odd week – four runs but no long one, no gym but plenty of time in the saddle. Friends are coming for supper tonight – I’m hoping I don’t fall asleep in my bowl of soup.

Interesting stuff this week

1. Africa wise words: If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do no harm

2. BBC News website: Liberian taxi driver: returning $50,000 changed a life

A struggling motorbike taxi driver found $50,000 (£40,000) wrapped in a plastic bag by the side of the road. He gave it to his aunt to look after and returned it to the rightful owner who appealed on national radio for help in finding the cash.

Some mocked him for his honesty but President George Weah handed him $10,000, a local media owner also gave him cash and the owner of the money donated $1,500-worth of goods.

He was also given a place at one of Liberia’s most prestigious schools and a US college offered him a full scholarship once he had completed his secondary education. He now has six years of secondary school ahead of him and will be 25 when he graduates. He wants to study accounting at university “to prepare myself to help guide the use of the country’s money”.

3. BBC News website: Cracks found in more than 180 trains

The rail regulator has found fatigue and corrosion led to high-speed trains being withdrawn from service. It said fatigue cracking was caused by the “trains experiencing greater loads from train movement than allowed for in the original design”.

… and there I was thinking that train design probably allowed for quite a lot of movement

4. BBC News website: Many Delhi meat shops closed for Hindu festival

Mayors of south and east districts said most people fast or abstain from eating meat during the festival and many had complained that they did not like seeing meat being cut in the open.

However, the move has riled many who have taken to social media to express outrage saying that it violates India’s pluralism, pointing out that someone’s choice to abstain from meat should not infringe on another’s freedom to eat meat or earn a livelihood.

Life is so complicated when trying to keep everyone happy

5. BBC News website: ‘Muscles from Brussels’ head to DR Congo

Famous action film hero Jean-Claude van Damme says he is thrilled to have been given a Congolese diplomatic passport.

“I am going to try to convince international stars like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Jacky Chan and many others,” he said as he accepted his passport and role as cultural, youth and wildlife ambassador for the country. “There are also singers like Jennifer Lopez and footballers like Messi, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo. They must come to the country to show that it is safe, to show that Congo can protect those in showbiz.”

Not sure I got the reason why Jennifer Lopez Messi, Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo must come to the the Congo but I guess he might be quite persuasive

Turbo, run (hill reps), run, run, gym, run (plus false alarms and robots on the loose)

Bournemouth seafront, looking towards Hengistbury Head (left) and the Isle of Wight (right)

I started the week with a turbo session. Strangely, after not being able to muster the enthusiasm to use it on Saturday, I was fairly happy to mount up for 45 minutes @28.7kph (17.8mph).

It was the usual 8 hill reps on Tuesday – and this time I logged nearly 9km with 292m of ascent (5.5 miles and 960 feet). I love the way the same run records differently every time. I managed to make the last rep the fastest again but I’m now wondering if that just shows that I’m not working hard enough with the others – it feels like I’m working plenty hard enough.

I’d decided to be tough and not wear the soft shell jacket – but it hadn’t got above freezing so yet again the cold weather wimp in me won the day and the jacket got an outing as usual. I did wear my less-than-warmest running tights – what a man.

I ran, properly (and fully) attired, with my wife on Wednesday – 7.4km (4.6 miles) – still cold but the sun came out. It feels like we haven’t seen it for a while. I had thought about going for a swim in the evening but couldn’t muster the energy – I’ve decided that not swimming this month will be my version of ‘dry January’.

More running with my wife on Thursday on tired legs, it being the third run on successive days, following a turbo session. It was one of our usual routes but it measured 7.45km (4.6 miles) which is longer than normal – the world must be expanding.

Gym and bike shop, as ever, on Friday. I’m still lifting the increased weights in the gym and trying to remember to do fewer reps and more sets – it’s hard.

Later we drove down to Bournemouth. Our older son and his girlfriend have been spending some time in the house down there so we joined them for a weekend break. I’m not sure if it constituted being invited for a weekend away in your own house but it was great to get down there and see them.

We arrived late afternoon but within a couple of hours we got an intruder alert for the house back in Oxfordshire. Unfortunately, the friends who have keys and know how to operate the alarm were away so I drove nearly 2 hours back to check on it. Of course, no sign of intruders but the door to the attic was open and I’m wondering if that was moving enough to set off the movement detector as a result of a bit of a draught coming down the attic stairs.

It’s given a false alarm once before when we’ve been in Bournemouth – why can’t it go wrong when we are running within a mile from home?

I stayed overnight and drove back to Bournemouth on Saturday morning. All that put paid to a morning run but we went for a walk and then walked to a restaurant for an excellent lunch – so that was about 2.5 hours on our feet.

I wasn’t going to run on Sunday but it was a lovely day – chilly but a bright blue sky and some sunshine. It was too good to miss so I ran along the seafront to Boscombe Pier and back – 8.5km (5.3 miles) – it was delightful and despite the extra, unnecessary, driving it was a very fine weekend.

100k corner (an occasional place for ultra worries and plans)

I’ve started looking at training plans for July’s ultra. The organisers have a 20 week programme on the website – that would mean starting around the second week of February. However, the weekly distances for the first 9 weeks of the plan aren’t any bigger than I’d expect to be running anyway – although in the later weeks the longest runs are a bit further than I’d usually go.

I think 20 weeks is too long to be in a training plan so I’m ignoring it for now – I’ll pick it up in late March to make sure that I’m doing slightly longer runs by then.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Wood already touched by fire is not hard to set alight

2. BBC News website: Robot vacuum cleaner makes a break for freedom

The automated cleaner failed to stop at the front door of the hotel in Cambridge on Thursday, and was still on the loose the following day. Well-wishers on social media hoped the vacuum enjoyed its travels, as “it has no natural predators” in the wild.

It was found under a hedge in the grounds of the hotel on Friday.

3. BBC News website: Arnold Schwarzenegger involved in a car accident

The four-vehicle crash on Friday afternoon left one person with injuries, Los Angeles Police said. Images from the scene show Schwarzenegger’s large SUV on top of at least two vehicles. The actor can be seen standing nearby.

This is news? – didn’t they see his driving in The Terminator films?

4. BBC News website: Egan Bernal in intensive care

Bernal, who rides for the Ineos Grenadiers, had a crash while training in Colombia. He suffered a fractured vertebrae, a fractured right femur, a fractured right patella [knee-cap], chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs in the crash. Doctors were able to pin his right leg and stabilise the vertebrae. He is now in intensive care where other potential injuries are being managed, as well as the body’s response to the trauma.

Bernal won Le Tour two years ago at his first attempt and won last year’s Giro. He was widely expected to contest the Tour de France this year but it is not yet clear if he will be able to take part in the Tour which begins in Copenhagen on 1 July.

Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters was injured in training with the national track team on December 23 – there seems to be a dearth of information online after she had surgery to relieve pressure on her brain and was placed in a medically-induced coma.

My very best wishes for their speedy and full recoveries. Take care out there.

5. BBC News website: China rewrites the ending to cult 1999 film Fight Club

The original ending saw Edward Norton’s narrator killing his imaginary alter-ego Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, before bombs destroyed buildings in the climax to a subversive plot to reorder society, dubbed Project Mayhem.

For Chinese audiences, the authorities win. Before the explosions, a message now says “Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”

Run, run (hill reps), gym and a Happy New Year to everyone

A sign off to 2021 at the gym – and not a piece of tinsel in sight

I’m not clear if the Chinese ‘may you live in interesting times’ is a blessing or a curse. 2021 qualified as ‘interesting’ – but may your 2022 be less interesting in some respects and much better in all respects.

I ran on Monday – 7.1km (4.4miles) – enjoyable but gentle and wet. I had a sore calf muscle – while exercising it in the gym on Friday someone started speaking to me about cycling and I lost count of the left leg calf raises but just kept doing them. As I get older, the dividing line between good exercise and overdoing it is getting ever more thin.

Christmas itself was great, the boys were back with us and we used most of the house – with just the two of us here normally we shrink our occupation of it but with champagne and stocking opening (at 9.30am) in the drawing room (pretentious, moi?), presents in the breakfast room, lunch in the dining room and a film in the snug, it felt like we got the best out of it.

We walked on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and probably clocked up something like 16km (10 miles) but on Wednesday the boys went back to their homes before the older son and his girlfriend decided (not unreasonably) that the house in Bournemouth would be a good place to see in the New Year. Here the house feels rather emptier but it was a great week we had with them.

We should be thinking about packing for skiing now but that is not going to happen with terrible Covid rates both here and in France – and we Brits are effectively banned from France anyway. The only thing that softens the loss of the holiday is the realisation that we are not missing out on skiing at its best – it would be a compromised holiday because of the restrictions we’d be operating under.

It was always going to be a light week for exercise so I ran hill reps on Thursday on the basis that they probably represent the biggest bang for the buck in exercise benefit (?) – 8 reps of the usual hill for 8.5km with 286m of ascent (5.3 miles and 938 feet).

Friday morning was the gym (the bike shop is still closed for the holidays). I calculate that before I increased the weights and reduced the reps, I was lifting nearly 19,000 kg in a session at the gym – about 18.5 imperial tons and nearer to 21 US tons. I have no idea if that’s good, bad, indifferent or just irrelevant.

Much of Thursday and Friday was taken up preparing for a dinner party for New Year’s Eve. I’m no big fan of New Year (to me it feels like the passage of just one more day rather than another year) but I do like a good dinner party and we had some excellent friends coming. We tested ourselves for Covid (thankfully, both negative) as did all our guests. We had a terrific evening – in a ventilated room – may that be a sign of good things to come in 2022.

2021 exercise round-up:

Runs: 130 Distance: 1,236km (768miles) – with nearly 14,000m of ascent it felt further

Rides: 68 Distance: 1,620km (1,006miles) – pretty poor, most on the turbo trainer

Swims: 30 Distance: 29km (18miles) – a mixture of open water and pool

Gym: 37 times – it was shut for some months

I didn’t set any targets for exercise in 2021 but that’s well over 240 hours in the year, my first ultra marathon completed and a triathlon done with a swim in the (previously) scary open water.

For next year it’s a 100km ultra, some sportives and two triathlons, one of which is over the Olympic distance. Exciting and daunting in equal measure. Dare I think about a return of the annual cycling holiday in the alps?

Interesting things this week

1. African wise words: Even the lion protects himself against flies

2. BBC News website: “Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea”*

Sri Lanka plans to send $5m (£3.8m) worth of tea to Iran each month to clear the $251m debt for past oil imports. Sri Lanka is experiencing a severe debt and foreign exchange crisis, which has been made worse by the loss of tourist income during the coronavirus pandemic.

*Lyrics, The Beverley Hillbillies theme tune (1962-71)

3. BBC News website: Ecuador to make Covid vaccination mandatory

The health ministry said there were enough doses to “immunise the entire population”. The under 5s and those with a medical justification will be exempt.

The ministry said vaccines were a “shield of protection” against the virus, helping to prevent serious illness, hospitalisations and deaths and the decision was based in the country’s constitution, in which the right to health must be guaranteed by the state.

Did you know that Ecuador is the original home of the Panama hat?

4. BBC News website: Netlicks? ‘The TV screen you can taste’

A prototype “lickable” TV screen which can mimic food flavours has been developed by a Japanese professor. Ten canisters spray flavour onto a “hygienic film” which is rolled over the screen for the viewer to lick.

It is suggested that it could be used to train cooks or sommeliers remotely. If made commercially, the TV would cost an estimated $875 (£735).

5. BBC News website: Alexa challenge

Amazon has updated its Alexa voice assistant after it “challenged” a 10-year-old girl to touch a coin to the prongs of a half-inserted plug.

The dangerous activity, known as “the penny challenge”, began circulating on TikTok and other social media websites about a year ago.

‘Alexa, self-destruct in 10 seconds’

6. BBC News website: Woman self-isolates in plane toilet mid-flight

A US schoolteacher spent five hours in voluntary self-isolation in a plane’s toilet after testing positive for Covid-19 mid-flight.

Her throat started to hurt while travelling from Chicago to Reykjavik and she performed a rapid test with a kit she had brought with her. She remained in the toilet for the rest of the trip with a flight attendant providing her with food and drinks.

If you’ve not been, think about putting Iceland on the list of places to visit (conventional travel advised)

Turbo, run (hill reps), run, gym and Happy Christmas

An earlier post this week – exercise finished, family all back home and I now expect to devote myself to eating my body weight in chocolate. I wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

Back home on Sunday night after the Covid-tested get-together with my wife’s brothers and (some of their) families. It was a cold Monday but I managed 45 minutes on the turbo for 22.35km @30kph.

Very high volumes of new UK Covid cases continue – for now no tighter restrictions are being put in place, but nor have they been ruled out. I wasn’t exactly feeling the joy of running on a cold Tuesday morning but managed to haul myself out for 8 reps of the usual hill – this time Strava made it 8.5km with 286m of ascent (5.3 miles and 938 feet).

Later I got in the car and drove to London to pick up our younger son. He’s been very careful and fortunate (and long may he stay so) and has stayed clear of the virus, despite being in a shared London flat where one flatmate recently had it, and working on placement in a London school for the last few months.

Wednesday was cold and frosty so our younger son and I canned the intended run but in the evening I drove to pick up our older son who had come out of Covid quarantine having tested negative for a few days. He was not able to join us last year because of last minute Covid restrictions so it’s great to all be here this year.

I drove to Bournemouth on Thursday to check on the house and an internet provider change – all is well. It was supposed to be mild and dry but it rained all the way down there. Happily, it cleared long enough for me to get a run down the seafront to Boscombe Pier and back – just over 8.5km (5.3 miles) and a negative split thanks to the headwind on the way out.

Gym on Friday morning for an hour, sticking with the increased weights.

100k corner (an occasional place for ultra worries and plans)

I hate to tempt fate but (at a fairly low level of intensity) so far so good. The knee and Achilles tendons that have been problems for a couple of years are behaving reasonably well (right hip slightly less so) and the hill reps that they stopped me doing for all that time seem to be working well. I can do three or four runs a week for 30+km (20+ miles) but the true test will be when it all ramps up as proper training starts in a couple of months.

The frustrating thing is that I’d give a lot to be in this sort of shape in the early Spring rather than in December. I think the sensible approach is to keep doing as much as I feel able to without (I hope) risking injury. Easy, eh? With the triathlon in May, what I should be doing is improving my swimming – but it’s dark and cold so that will have to wait.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: The axe forgets but the tree remembers

2. BBC News website: ‘Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie’*

An ambitious plan to eradicate mice from an island in the South Atlantic appears to have failed as a camera trap on Gough Island (roughly halfway between Africa and South America and home to one of the world’s largest seabird colonies) showed that at least one mouse had survived. The presumption is that where there is one mouse there are likely to be more.

Mice are thought to have been introduced to the island by sailors in the 19th century and have been feeding on the chicks and eggs of seabirds. The entire project costed more than £9million (about $12m) and the aim was that it would be a “one off”, to turn the clock back and eliminate the mice once and for all.

*’To a mouse’ by Robert Burns

3. BBC News website: South Korean dairy giant, Seoul Milk, apologises for advert

The clip starts with a man with a camera wandering through the countryside who then, hidden in bushes, films a group of women drinking from a stream and doing yoga. When he steps on a twig it startles the women who suddenly turn into cows.

The advert has sparked a national debate over sexism and gender sensitivity issues but some also voiced concerns about the man surreptitiously filming the group of women, with spy cam crimes in South Korea having risen over the past few years.

OK marketing department, who thought that could possibly be a good idea?

4. BBC News website: Brazil wildfires killed an estimated 17 million animals

Wildfires burned in the Brazilian Pantanal wetlands between January and November 2020. Scientists attempted to count the animals killed by huge wildfires and estimate that as many as 17 million vertebrates – including reptiles, birds and primates – died.

22,000 separate fires recorded during the year destroyed about 30% of the world’s largest tropical wetland.

So sad. It’s hard to comprehend the scale of the destruction

5. BBC News website: Money manager disappears with $313m

A company that was once one of China’s biggest property developers says it has “lost contact” with a British Virgin Islands-registered wealth manager, that has $313m (£235m) of its money.

Fortune Land said it had expected the investment through China Create Capital to generate annual interest of 7% to 10% until the agreement was due to expire at the end of 2022 but it is now unable to contact the money manager.

I assume China Create Capital thinks it’s managed that money rather well

6. BBC News website: Chip shortage in Japan

For once it’s not a lack of semiconductors that is causing the problem but McDonald’s is suffering a potato shortage in Japan due to the global supply chain crisis. As a result it will only sell small portions of its French fries in Japan from Friday until 30 December.

McDonald’s said it usually imports the potatoes it uses from a port near Vancouver in Canada but ships have faced delays due to flood damage and the impact of the pandemic on the global supply chain. It will now turn to alternative measures, including flying supplies to Japan.

Forget Covid – this is the end of civilisation as we know it