On Monday I gave my friend a lift in to a local hospital to have his foot x-rayed to see if he’d broken a bone while running on Sunday. Having survived the more hazardous cross country run we did together on Thursday, he put a foot in a pothole and went over on the ankle. It is a most unfair injury as he was fulfilling his club ‘run leader’ role particularly diligently, looking back to check on the others.
As Wainwright (of Lake District fell walking fame) said, always stop before turning round to look behind you (not that I ever do).
Despite all the horror stories about the state of the NHS, he got through triage, x-ray and consultation in about 2 hours. His self-diagnosis of a fractured metatarsal was confirmed – such bad luck as he’d run well on Thursday. It makes his Brighton Marathon in early April even tougher – but not impossible if the bone heals quickly and if the run itself is taken gently?
Having completed the push-up challenge on Sunday – the question is, what’s next? I’ve discovered the difference between chin-ups and pull-ups – the former is performed with palms towards you and the latter with palms facing away – and I tried them in the gym on Tuesday. I struggled with both and when attempting to do them properly (a starting position of hanging with straight arms) I wasn’t able to perform one of either. With elbows starting at 90° I could do a couple but that doesn’t count.
I don’t know if that’s pathetic or if most folks would find the same but it didn’t come as a surprise. I do the lat pull-down machine (which is basically a chin-up with the bar being pulled down instead of the body being pulled up) with 55kg against a bodyweight of about 68kg so I’m a few kg short of being able to lift my bodyweight.
I could feel even those gentle exploratory exercises in my biceps on Wednesday (and Thursday). In spite of doing a lot of regular core exercises, I could also feel the effort on my stomach muscles. To be able to do 10 ‘proper’ chin-ups looks like a suitable and hard next challenge for someone with puny runner/cyclist biceps.
We drove out to the alps on Thursday – the original plan had been to have a proper skiing holiday but the snow in most of the alps has been terrible (or completely absent) so far, so we decided on just a few days, with any skiing as a bonus. We last skied in January 2020 (just before everything shut down) and we weren’t able to ski in 2021 or 2022 for the obvious reason, so the lack of snow this year is really cruel.
On Friday the main lift from the village was open so we decided to give it a go. Although the resort runs were shut, it is linked into a much larger area and we were able to construct a few loops (having been going there for over 20 years has some advantages). The runs that were open were in surprisingly good condition and that, coupled with very few people, made for an excellent afternoon’s sport.
As we’d come out with no real skiing expectations, and are going out again in March, we were happy to call that quits, as the weekend would be busier with locals coming to ski. Walking round the village on Sunday I decided to brave the light rain and run. By the time I was thinking of changing, the rain had turned to heavy snow. I chickened out but was later put to shame as two people ran past me, in the snow, as I put the rubbish out.
Back to England on Monday. Sunday’s heavy snow had stopped and the road down the mountain was OK (let’s hear it for winter tyres). The Autoroute Blanche started out OK too as we headed West towards Geneva but then it started to rain. Then it got colder and started to snow – and then snow harder.
Very quickly the outside lane (there are only two) was white and then it was closed putting all the traffic in just one lane, moving very slowly. It carried on like that for many miles and I was calculating at what time catching our channel crossing would have to be abandoned.
There are 4 tunnels on the way out of the alps and, whistling in the dark, I developed the theory that the last of them would signal both the end of the alps and the end of the snowy microclimate. The first 3 tunnels made no difference at all – heavy snow on the way in and heavy snow on the way out but, lo and behold, we entered the last in the snow and came out into dry and pleasant weather – rather like coming through the back of the wardrobe from Narnia.
The first 1hr 40 minutes along the autoroute saw a 70kph average speed (44mph). The decent weather lasted less than an hour and we had heavy rain for almost all the rest of the journey – a frustrating long drive but a great few days (and yes, we made it to the tunnel in time).
1. African wise words: True love means what’s mine is yours
2. BBC News website: Are they taking the … mickey?
Media rights groups say that six journalists in South Sudan have been arrested over the circulation of footage appearing to show President wetting himself as the national anthem played at a function.
Six staff from the state broadcaster were detained this week. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is now calling for their release.
3. BBC News website: Boss of gambling firm paid more than £200m in a year
The highest paid director of Bet365 Group, believed to be founder Denise Coates, earned a salary of £213.4m in the year to March 2022. She was also entitled to at least half of £100m in dividends, despite a fall in profits.
In the year to 29 March 2022, the business turned over £2.9bn in total, an increase of 2% compared with the year before. While sales from sports betting fell, online games revenues jumped by 25% during the year.
Charitable donations of about £100m were made through the Denise Coates Foundation.
Much credit for the charitable foundation but, in general, I dislike gambling
4. BBC News website: The dangers of mobile phones on a new level
Russia has said a New Year’s Day missile attack which killed at least 89 Russian soldiers happened because troops were using their mobile phones which allowed the enemy to locate its target, officials said. An investigation has already begun.
Irrespective the rights and wrongs of the situation, this is sad
5. BBC News website: Bravo ABBA
Despite selling millions of copies over more than four decades, Abba’s 1979 hit, Chiquitita, doesn’t earn the group a penny. Written for Unicef’s Year of the Child, the copyright was given to Unicef.
Chiquitita (“Little Girl” in Spanish) – was the first song Abba recorded in Spanish, becoming a huge success across Latin America. The royalties have been used to address some of the most complex issues affecting Central America – from extreme poverty and a generational culture of machismo to domestic violence and rape. Even alcohol abuse among marginalised, indigenous communities.
6. BBC News website: Parting is such sweet sorrow (let me part you from £417m)
The stars of the Oscar-winning 1968 film Romeo and Juliet are suing Paramount Pictures for sexual abuse over a nude scene in the film. Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey were teenagers when they made the movie but, now in their 70s, they claim director Franco Zeffirelli encouraged them to do nude scenes despite previous assurances that they would not have to.
The two actors are seeking damages of more than $500m (£417m), based on suffering they say they have experienced and the revenue brought in by the film since its release.
In a 2018 interview Hussey defended the nude scene. “Nobody my age had done that before,” she said, adding that Zeffirelli shot it tastefully. “It was needed for the film.”
In another interview in 2018, she said that nudity was common in European films at the time. “It wasn’t that big of a deal,” she said. “And Leonard wasn’t shy at all! In the middle of shooting, I just completely forgot I didn’t have clothes on.”