Category Archives: chickens

Gym, gym, mechanic (easy week post sportive and before the resumption of running?)

I took Monday off after the sportive on Sunday – I didn’t fancy getting up early and there was the real prospect of some aches and pains (which, happily, didn’t materialise – my knee was happy too).

Back to the gym on Tuesday for an hour – again the only person in there. I don’t see how they will be able to continue unless they are busy at other times of the day or have a lot of people who are still paying for memberships but simply not turning up.

Wednesday was foul – cold and wet so I lacked motivation to exercise but I got to the gym again on Thursday morning with a friend (we were the only two in there), for another bitterly cold hour.

Another session manning the charity’s bike shop with my son on Friday morning with two more bike sales. I also spent time on sorting out some wheel bearings and a pedal that was shedding ball bearings as you rode. I appear to have become Bearings Man – given my lack of skill in the area, the other volunteers must be terrible at them.

We entertained (outside) on Friday night and again on Saturday lunchtime (garden gazebo to the fore as it’s not been getting beyond about 11℃ (or 52℉). I mowed on Sunday but couldn’t get motivated to get on the turbo. Next week I think I owe myself some better exercise sessions.

Still no running (just over 3 weeks now) as I follow good advice from the Olderrunner and wait until I feel the knee is better … and then wait another week.

 Target Plan My Actual
Week 7: Miles (Km) 22 (35)
‘Running’ Totals 109.5 (175) 120 (193)
Week 7, Ultra Marathon training (with rounding)

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Life is like a mud pot; handle with utmost care

2. BBC News website: Kanye West’s Yeezy trainers sell for record

A pair of shoes designed and worn by the musician Kanye West have sold for $1.8m (£1.3m) at auction – the highest amount ever paid for trainers. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes beat the previous record, which was held by a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s that sold for $615,000 last year.


3. BBC News website: Oscars 2021 – Audiences turn off

The number of people watching the Oscars dropped to an all-time low on Sunday, overnight figures reveal. The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg described it as ‘in some ways, a trainwreck’.

Seems appropriate as IMDb lists 31 films with trainwrecks

4. BBC News website: ‘More than a million Moroccans arrested’ for Covid breaches

Moroccan media report that more than 1.5 million Moroccans have been arrested in the last nine months for not respecting the country’s Covid-19 precautionary measures – about 4% of the population.

This translates to a rate of more than 5,700 people arrested every day during that time.

Now that’s Covid non-compliance on an industrial scale

5. BBC News website: Ex-leader accused of jumping vaccine queue tests positive

Peru’s former president has tested positive for Corona virus just days after he was banned from public office for allegedly jumping the queue to receive the vaccine.

He said he was a volunteer in a trial, but the university hosting it said he asked to be vaccinated. The scandal broke in February and hundreds of other civil servants and public officials have also been implicated.

Only 2.5% of Peruvians have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine and the country is going through a second wave, registering record numbers of cases and deaths in recent weeks.

6. As a sad but slightly trivial bit of news, we lost our two last chickens. No sign of how anything got into the run (which has been secure for many years) – but something did. Although we hadn’t given names to any chickens for many years, these last two were often referred to as Methuselah and Enoch due to their old ages. According to the Bible, Methuselah lived to 969 and his father, Enoch, lived to 365 before he was ‘taken by God’ which some traditions interpret as him not having died.

First time chicken-less for something like 16 years. Ahh

“Run, turbo, run, turbo, run, run, run” (run) a homage to Flanagan and Allen

Still pounding the mean streets of rural Oxfordshire

I appreciate that this might mean nothing to anyone else but it makes me smile. For the record, Flanagan and Allen were a musical comedy act in the 1930s and 40’s. One of their most famous songs went:

Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run
Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run
Bang, bang, bang, bang goes the farmer’s gun
Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run, run
Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run
Don’t give the farmer his fun, fun, fun
He’ll get by without his rabbit pie
So run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run

More innocent days – I don’t expect Eminem or Stormzy to do cover versions.

Anyway ….

Monday was a little warmer but last week was quite tough so I should have taken a rest day. Instead I ran through the village with my wife and then on to do 10 laps of Badbury Clump (10.1km – 6.3 miles).

That made four days in a row running at least 10km. I suppose that was useful in showing I could do it but, at the same time, it felt like more than enough. I wasn’t too disappointed that it was raining on Tuesday so nobody felt like getting out for a run.

In the absence of the gym for variety, I got on the turbo trainer later in the day. With the sportive just over 3 months away I should be doing more cycling – but it’s cold and wet and the ‘stay local’ message for exercise needs to be taken into account. Just a quick blast – 30 minutes @ 29.2kph (18.1 mph).

Wednesday was wet (again) so it was out for just 7km (4.35 miles) between showers and, foolishly, a thrash on the turbo in the early evening – 30 minutes @30.9kph (19.2mph). That was tough as pretty well everything was tired – so, of course, I stupidly ran on Thursday morning as well. Soggy and slippery laps around the old Badbury hill fort for a difficult 7.4km (4.6 miles). It made me realise how important it will be to pray for dry weather for July’s ultra.

Friday dawned cold but dry and we ran for 7.5kms (4.7 miles) @sub 5:40/km. That took me through a very surprising 100km of running in the first 15 days of January.

I was feeling jaded on Saturday but my wife and son wanted to run again so I went with them to complete the ‘run rabbit’ sequence (and in the right order). The forecast sleet didn’t materialise and we did a very pleasant 7km (4.35 miles). Sunday was lovely and bright so we all ran for a bit and then our son and I added another loop for a total of 12.5km (7.8 miles).

That made 11 activities in 10 days (and 18 in 18 days). Too much really but I seem to have survived. Feet up for the rest of the day

In other news: the new raised vegetable beds look good freshly weeded; 6 litres (10.5 pints) of sloe gin has been decanted and is looking (and tasting) good; and the chickens are still very upset that the avian flu outbreak means that their run has been reduced and covered (they have not yet built a plane but I tell you, those chickens are organised).

It’s a long time since any of us left the house for anything other than necessary shopping or exercise. We remain very lucky, with no jobs or young children to accommodate, plenty of room in both the house and the garden and a village environment that feels pretty safe.

At the same time, lockdown 3 is proving to be a bit tougher than the previous two – horizons get more contracted as holidays (or even getting up to London or down to Bournemouth) still seem a long way off. I hope our national resolve to follow the rules holds firm.

A shop I was in about 10 days ago was shut the following day for a deep clean after discovery of a Covid case. I was there for just a few socially-distanced and face-masked minutes, but was still a minor worry and a good reminder to be careful.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: When the hyena falls into a deep pit, he does not shout for help

Those deep pits are no laughing matter

2. BBC News website: Covid-19 – Pokemon player fined for lockdown breach

A man has been fined £200 for breaking lockdown rules after travelling 14 miles to play Pokemon Go.

Pokemon (do not pass) Go (do not collect £200)

3. BBC News website: Man held after armed raid in search of cat

In Australia, a man called the Lost Dogs’ Home shelter to claim his lost cat but was told he would have to wait until the following morning. He then allegedly stormed the shelter in full camouflage gear and pointed an assault rifle at a female worker demanding to know where the cats were kept.

He returned to the shelter the next day to reclaim the animal and was later arrested.

4. BBC News website: Tennis stars’ arrival angers stranded Australians

Organisers of the Australian Open put on chartered flights to fly in players and other members of staff – and that has frustrated roughly 37,000 Australians unable to return home due to Australia currently having a cap on the number of international arrivals.

Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians overseas were his “first priority in terms of people coming back into the country”.

Obviously, 37,000 Australians do not return as well as Nadal and Djokovic

With a bit of irony, 47 of the players who have arrived on the first two planes are now in 14 days’ quarantine after positive Covid tests on those incoming flights

Fear, manual labour, gym, turbo, run and chickens in peril

A less than secure chicken run

I think I’ve only ever ridden five imperial centuries – my everest in 2017 (176 miles – 282km), the first three days cycling out to the alps last year (160, 150 and 135 miles respectively) and the Dragon Ride back in 2014 (140 miles – 224km).

For all of those I’d trained reasonably well. The Prudential Ride London Sportive, in less than two weeks time, is also 100 miles but this year my cycle training has been poor to non-existent. Fear is a great motivator and it’s started to focus my mind – either train or have a difficult day in the saddle. At this late stage, it might be ‘train and have a slightly less difficult day in the saddle’.

After yet more manual labour at the cycle park on Monday afternoon (laying industrial strength paving slabs at 43kg each – 95lbs) I was not up for the evening’s planned turbo ride, but was back in the gym for an hour on Tuesday morning.

The gym must be doing something as I’ve just increased the weights on every exercise – but whether it’s doing the right something is another matter.

I did make it on to the turbo on a ridiculously hot Tuesday evening and dripped my way through 30 minutes at an average 26.8kph (16.65mph) watching the end of Le Tour, stage 16. It was hard from the start – I guess I can’t expect to move bigger weights in the gym (now 200kg – 441 pounds – on the leg press machine) and cycle fast later in the day?

I ran with my wife early on Wednesday morning to avoid the worst of the heat – about 3.8 miles (6.1km). The running is OK but the Achilles tendons are still problem children, hurting first thing in the mornings but easing as I start to get moving. The shoulder I hurt skiing in January is almost right now but I’m feeling a bit jaded from the increased exercise regime.

While mowing later on, I discovered that all was not well at the end of the garden. The storm the previous night had brought down a sizeable branch from one of the beech trees – about a thick as my (thickening) waist. It had destroyed part of the shed (which was already in a poor state, admittedly) and flattened part of the chicken run fencing. Luckily, no foxes had realised this.

I have tried teaching the chickens self defence against foxes but they remain of the view that homeland security is my responsibility. Accordingly, I spent a happy (?) couple of hours sawing through branches to clear them from the netting around the run and restoring the safety of the occupants.

I’m happy to say that no chickens were hurt in the making of this drama.