Category Archives: swim

Run (x4), swim, gym (plus some confusing birthdays and un-celebrations)

The two belt bags I ran with for last year’s ultra

No swim doctor session on Monday because of the Bank Holiday but I ran with my wife on a lovely warm morning – 7.2km (4.5 miles). Minor foot niggles tell me three days running in a row is enough.

The penalty for not having the swim session on Monday was that I went to the pool on Tuesday morning with my training partner (who has much better discipline with the swimming than I do). My aim was to swim a non-stop 1km to see if I could do it faster than I had before the swim doctor sessions – but that went out of the window once I saw that there were 5 others in the ‘fast’ lane.

I did about 800m trying some a bit faster, and some a bit smoother so it was a decent swim, but not exactly what I’d hoped for. I can swim 25m in 30 seconds (still slow but faster than before) but the extra effort means I can’t keep that going for long.

The rest of Tuesday was spent starting to address a large block paved driveway which needs attention, raking out, and killing the weeds in, the cracks between blocks. It’s back-breaking work which will take a few days of effort.

At least this effort shows

I took a car in to the garage on Wednesday morning and ran back – 5.5km (3.4 miles) before more work on the drive.

Thursday was the usual 8 hill reps for 8.6km and 287m of ascent (5.4 miles and 941 feet) and then another three hours of hard labour on the driveway, it rather puts training and exercise in its place.

Gym and bike shop, as ever, on Friday morning, followed by a bonfire as the wind was in the right direction to blow the smoke away from the village and then out for a very good supper with friends in the evening.

After a morning tending the still smoking bonfire and doing more on the driveway, we went to the wedding of some friends’ daughter on Saturday. A terrific wedding which we left in the early hours to walk the 3 miles home. After picking up the car I went for a steady run in fairly warm weather – 13.7km (8.5 miles).

Bonfire tended and still producing wisps of smoke, driveway still breaking my back.

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

I’m starting to wonder about kit to take on the run. If I need anything new, I’d better get it and try it out soon.

For last year’s 50km I had a tri-belt with two small pockets and bottle holder, and a small (but expandable) running belt. They took everything I needed: phone, necessary first aid bits, credit card and cash, sanitiser, face mask, sun cream, a light jacket and the Garmin. I guess the only extra thing needed this year might be a torch. I believe that I complied with the compulsory kit list but it was never checked.

With food stations no more than 15km apart, I didn’t need to carry food and I never put more than 150ml in the bottle. Unless it’s a lot hotter this year, I can’t think I’ll need to carry much more drink so, for now, I’m not planning on a vest specifically for hydration purposes.

However, for general storage I guess it all comes down to how much you want to carry and how comfortable the various options are. I know some people don’t like straps around the waist but that’s a simple and cheap way to tackle it – would a vest be both more comfortable and hold more?

The event’s training plan had this week as a cut-back week so I don’t feel bad about having run less than usual – unfortunately, next week will be tricky too. There’s only been one week so far when I haven’t exceeded the event’s plan (I was 1km short – but that week I rode a 70 mile sportive so I don’t feel I short changed myself).

Week (of 20) Event’s training plan (km) My actual (km)
9 25 35
Cumulative total 264 418

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: When you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes but the monkey remains

2. BBC News website: Man wins $450k lawsuit after unwanted office birthday party

A man has been awarded $450,000 (£345,314) after his company threw him a surprise birthday party. The man suffers from anxiety disorders and had asked his manager to not celebrate his birthday at work, as it could result in a panic attack and would bring back uncomfortable childhood memories.

Despite this, the company threw him a surprise party, triggering a panic attack. The claim said that he was “confronted and criticised” at a meeting the following day, where he was accused of “stealing his co-workers joy” and “being a little girl”. The meeting prompted a second panic attack, and two days later the company fired him, citing concerns about workplace safety. 

The jury awarded him $450,000, including $300,000 for emotional distress and $150,000 in lost wages.

3. BBC News website: How old re you – in Korea, there could be three answers 

Officially, the country has used the international counting system, using a person’s birth date, in most legal definitions and administrative processes since 1962.

The country also has another official way to count age, in which babies are born at the age of 0, and gain a year every January 1. Under this, a baby born in December 2020 would be two years old by January 2022, even if they wouldn’t officially turn two until December of that year.

Thirdly, there’s the “Korean age” method, which is used more typically by everyone in society, where everyone is automatically a year old at birth, and become a year older on New Year’s Day regardless of their birth date.

4. BBC News website: ‘Biohacker’ has 32 pieces of technology in his body

Dutchman, Patrick Paumen, has a contactless payment microchip injected under his skin so that placing his left hand near a contactless card reader allows him to make payments.

The chip weighs less than a gram and is little bigger than a grain of rice. It has regulatory approval, works immediately after being implanted, and will stay firmly in place. It also does not require a battery, or other power source. The firm supplying the chip says it has now sold more than 500 of them.

His other implants include chips to open doors and imbedded magnets.

Swim, turbo, run (x4), gym (plus opera and the W boson putting on weight)

On Monday the only issue from the sportive was a slightly sore backside (which had not been ready for 5 hours in the saddle) but I was very happy to settle for just the evening swim doctor session.

I feel that my swimming has improved but am still putting off an attempt at a quick kilometre, for fear that it turns out to be no faster than before the lessons. Sooner or later I will have to bite that particular bullet but the real test will come when I get back to the open water (which is not going to happen until the lakes warm up).

I had no enthusiasm for a run on Tuesday but I (just) managed to get on the turbo in the early evening. Although I rode the sportive fairly gently, it must have taken more out of my legs than I’d realised as there wasn’t much there for the turbo – just 13km in 30 minutes. I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised as nearly 5 hours of fairly gentle peddling is still a lot of peddling.

My legs were just about recovered enough for hill reps on Wednesday. True to its capricious self, this time the Garmin measured the usual 8 reps as 8.5km and 257m of ascent (5.3 miles and 843 feet) and cheated me out of a one hill segment.

I was still lacking motivation on Thursday – I guess it’s the usual post-challenge slump, courtesy of the sportive. To my surprise, in the afternoon I managed to find a left over scrap of enthusiasm in the back of a drawer and ran a gentle 13km (8.1 miles).

No shop on Good Friday but I went to the gym with my training partner who is still not in the clear for running but is making strides (if you know what I mean) in the pool.

After the pleasure of some mowing, we went to Oxford for an excellent Lebanese early supper and a terrific production of Puccini’s Tosca. I sometimes surprise myself with my love of opera and it was a wonderful evening with friends (two of whom are opera buffs and two experiencing opera for the first time – I do hope it’s not their last).

The production featured the Ukrainian National Municipal Opera of Kyiv and their production of a Ukrainian flag at the curtain call, and their singing of the Ukrainian national anthem was very moving.

I don’t know if it was the uplifting music, the delightful evening out or just the passing of 5 days since the sportive but I ran on a very warm Saturday morning – 13.3km (8.3 miles). Later we drove up to London for supper with our younger son and his girlfriend.

Of course, staying in London overnight meant a run on Sunday morning – the usual route to Hammersmith Bridge and down the Thames Path to Fulham’s football ground and back. For a while now I’ve been running very slowly (even for me) – I don’t need to run fast (which is handy, because I can’t) but I decided to push a bit harder and managed 7.2km (4.45 miles) at 5:29/km.

After a very unpromising start, it turned out to be a good week in many ways. The opera was the highlight but I also managed to do 42km of running. Although I didn’t have a day off I’m hoping I’ll get away with that thanks to the fairly easy days on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

Happy Easter!

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: No person is born great. Great people become great when others are sleeping

2. BBC News website: Wind and solar generate 10% of global electricity

The growth in the need for electricity last year was the equivalent of adding a new India to the world’s grid but solar and wind and other clean sources generated 38% of the world’s electricity in 2021 and, for the first time, wind turbines and solar panels generated 10% of the total.

Fifty countries now get more than a tenth of their power from wind and solar sources. The fastest switching took place in the Netherlands, Australia, and Vietnam. All three have moved a tenth of their electricity demand from fossil fuels to green sources in the last two years.

3. BBC News website: Mass of a sub-atomic particle is not what it should be

A team of scientists in Chicago has found that the particle, a W boson, is more massive than the theories predicted, a result that is at odds with one of the most important and successful theories of modern physics.

The difference is just 0.1%, but if confirmed by other experiments, the implications are enormous. The discovery could lead to the development of a new, more complete theory of how the Universe works.

I’m sure we all suspected as much but were too polite to say

4. BBC News website: Length of life linked to speed of mutation of genetic code

Researchers discovered that mammals – from tigers to humans – have roughly the same number of mutations by the time they die of old age. A study of 16 species of mammal suggests that they all converged on “about 3,200” mutations (changes that creep into the instruction manual for building and running our bodies – our DNA) across their lifetime.

Mice rattle through nearly 800 mutations a year during their short lives, which last just under four years. Dogs have around 249 annual mutations, a lion 160 and a giraffe 99. Humans averaged 47.

5. BBC News website: But at least they must be good suits

A luxury tailor in Cairo that specialises in making clothes for celebrities is suing the Arabic language remake of the television series Suits, claiming that the production company has not paid for the suits – and other clothes – worn by the show’s stars.

The claim is for about $1.5m (£1.2m) but the production company denies the allegation and says it will counter-sue for defamation.

6. BBC News website: Man arrested after 183 animals are found in freezer.

The man admitted freezing some of the 183 animals found in his freezer (including dogs, cats, snakes and birds) while they were still alive, the Mohave County Sheriff’s office said. He has been charged with 94 counts of animal cruelty.

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

Swim, run (x4), gym (plus shrinkflation, fashion and heatwaves)

A friend has two dogs that my wife often walks with her. Our friend’s hurt her back so I was my wife’s assistant dog-walker on a crisp Monday morning giving the dogs a long walk around the fields.

After a day of mowing and car-cleaning, it was the swim doctor session in the early evening and another good mixture of drills and swimming.

Tuesday was odd – it’s rare that I don’t want to go for a run but that was one of those days. I suppose one of the differences between training and exercising is that runs are a bit less optional, so I got into the kit and ran. It was back to being chilly but, of course, as soon as I got outside I enjoyed it – 13km (8 miles) at a bit better than 6 minutes/km.

Back to the usual hill on Wednesday. Sadly, it’s continued to get colder and I’m back to running tights, three layers on top and gloves. This week, 8 reps measured 8.8km with 287m of ascent (5.5 miles 941 feet) – at least it felt better than last week’s horrible struggle.

I ran again on an even colder Thursday – 11.2km (7 miles) – complete with a few flakes of snow in the air and a bitter northerly – the wind chill made it feel a few degrees below freezing (a hat now added to the cold weather gear).

Three consecutive days of running is probably a bit much but having missed Monday it felt like it was worth doing to make the weekend easier. That just leaves the gym on Friday and one long run still to come …. and it took me beyond 500km of running in the first three months of the year, with over 7km of ascent.

Gym – still focusing on arms, chest, shoulders and core – and bike shop on Friday morning.

I’m happy (but probably foolish) to run up to about 26km (16 miles) without prior nutrition and without taking anything on the run, but to try something different I had porridge before setting off for my week’s long run on Saturday. After all, the fact that I can do it without doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be better with.

I started with bright and cold but soon got rain, snow flurries, more sun and a return of the rain. In all, a bit over 27km (nearly 17 miles) – I took no food or drink with me on the run, but felt no noticeable benefit from the porridge. I weighed in at a scrawny, and probably dehydrated, 65.5kg (144 pounds – 10 stone 4) at the end of the run.

That’s 60km (over 37 miles) in 4 runs over 5 days – it was tough and I’m now very weary. Our older son came back later on Saturday to return a car he’d borrowed – with the short notice, that meant our second take-away of the year for supper.

As always, it’s great to see him although it was a fleeting visit and I dropped him off at the station on Sunday. I felt in pretty good shape but, apart from that outing, I dedicated myself to a rest day.

I seem to have fallen into a training rut routine of 6 sessions a week (4 runs, a swim and a gym visit) but I should be cycling and swimming more. I also need to have a day off (preferably two) so I need to double up some days.

To fit in 7 sessions in a week, I’m sure one session a day with no rest is a bad idea – but I wonder if it’s better to do them over 6 days with one rest day, or cram them into 5 days, with 2 days off?

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

Week (of 20)Event’s training plan (km)My actual (km)
63560
Cumulative total161304
My training so far

My friend and training partner has recovered from Covid (I think it was nature’s way of telling him to give his ankle ligament more time off) and is – cautiously – restarting running. He’s been able to keep the swimming, gym and turbo trainer going so, as long as the injury is healing properly, he’ll be fine for the triathlon in late May but a question mark hangs over July’s ultra.

Last year I injured myself and had 9 weeks to train for the 50km ultra. In that time, I ran less than 150 miles (240km) and still enjoyed the event itself, never feeling that I wasn’t going to finish. It will be tough but I hope this year’s 100km is possible for him (in the absence of more illness or injury). There’s a potential fall-back of him doing half the run, which will still be an ultra … and that’s not to be sniffed at. Fingers crossed.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: When an old man dies, a library is burned with him

In my case, they will probably just warm up a postcard

2. BBC News website: Shrinkflation

Cadbury has shrunk the size of some of its Dairy Milk bars by 10%, but will not reduce the price for customers. US Parent company Mondelez blamed costs associated with the production of its chocolate spiking, as it reduced the bars’ size from 200g to 180g.

In 2020, the company was accused of “shrinkflation” – reducing the size of a product while keeping the price the same to boost profits. At the time, Cadbury chocolate bars sold in multipacks were reduced in size to reduce their calorie count, said the company.

Ah, it was just for our own good in calorie reduction and there I was mistakenly thinking it was about profits

3. BBC News website: Europe to crack down on fast fashion

It is proposed to make the clothing made and worn here more durable, reusable, repairable and recyclable. Manufacturers will have to ensure clothes are eco-friendly and hard-wearing and consumers will be given more information on how to reuse, repair and recycle their clothes.

According to the European Environment Agency in Europe clothes have, on average, the fourth highest impact on the environment and climate, exceeded only by food, housing and transport.

One advantage of not worrying about being ‘in fashion’ is that I have little risk of ever going out of fashion

4. BBC News website: It’s getting hot in here

The Met Office defines a heatwave as when an area experiences daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding a certain level for three days in a row. As they become more common, forecasters have raised the temperature at which a heatwave is declared in several areas of England by 1C.

Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire now have a level of 28C (82F), Lincolnshire has a limit of 27C (81F) and the East Riding of Yorkshire has 26C (79F).

It is untrue that, in the rest of the country, a heatwave is declared if it ever stops raining

5. Football World Cup draw

The draw for the Football World Cup (to be held in November and December) took place on Friday. England’s initial group is the USA, Iran and (one of) Scotland, Ukraine and Wales.

I predict optimism, hope, expectation and eventual disappointment and despair. To be honest, that’s not much of a prediction, just a description of our usual World Cup journey

Run (x4), swim, gym (plus radioactive fruit and a radio monopoly)

I went for a run on Monday – 13.7km (8.5 miles). The weather has changed and it was bordering on warm, although I suppose it is too early to start complaining about the heat.

Monday evening saw me miss the swim doctor class for the first time in 7 weeks – it was the cycle club AGM and I always help out by taking minutes and trying to ensure we follow the company’s rules.

The regular 8 hill reps on Tuesday morning were, rather depressingly, even harder than usual – one of those days when you wonder if the effort is worth it and whether you’re making any progress at all. Just over 9km and 289m of ascent (5.7 miles and 948 feet). Getting them done was good – but doing them was a real slog.

I felt better than expected on Wednesday but I think I should avoid running three days in a row so I constructed a third raised vegetable bed and started to remove a sizeable mound of soil and rubble at the end of the garden.

Having missed the lesson on Monday I knew I should keep the swimming going so I went in the evening. I didn’t try swimming any faster but wanted to know if a kilometre would be any easier than it was before the lessons – and I think it was. I’m nervous about trying to do it faster – it would be depressing if I couldn’t. The nasal spray is doing a good job on my sinus’ reaction to the chlorine.

Thursday was warm and bright so I fitted in the week’s long run of 22.2km (13.8 miles). First time this year wearing lycra running shorts and no compression top under the shirt. It was sufficiently warm that I ran two different loops so I could get a slurp of water half way round from the bottle I left outside the house – but I still lost over 1kg (just under 2.5lbs) during the run and caught a bit of sun.

Gym on Friday morning, going easy on the tired legs and concentrating on arms, shoulders and core – if I’m going to swim faster, I think I need to pull harder in the water.

Friday afternoon we drove up to London and had a very good Turkish meal in the evening near the flat. On Saturday we ran across Hammersmith Bridge, down the Thames Path, over Putney Bridge and back. In all 10.3km (6.4 miles) in lovely weather with the added bonus of the Head of the River race on the Thames – the best part of 300 eights racing on the Boat Race course.

Later we went to Kew Gardens to initiate the membership my wife bought me for Christmas – it was glorious apart from the tube line we needed to use being shut for maintenance work which led to a slow and painful journey and another 8km (5 miles) walking by the time we’d been to a very good gastro pub in the evening.

Mother’s Day on Sunday so our sons entertained us at a brasserie in Putney – great to see them, as always. Then back to Oxfordshire for a rest. Another week with no turbo trainer session. Big sportive coming very soon and I still haven’t been out on the bike this year – big mistake, I fear.

Just over 55km of running this week – and (say it quietly) still feeling pretty good.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try spending the night with a mosquito

2. BBC News website: Crops grown in the Chernobyl exclusion zone used to produce alcohol to benefit Ukrainian refugees

Originally, the aim was to show that slightly radioactive fruit, grown in orchards in or near the contaminated exclusion zone that surrounds Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant, could be distilled into a spirit that was no more radioactive than any other. Profits were channelled into communities that live in deprived areas close to the zone.

Now, as Russian troops occupy the land where that fruit is grown and harvested, this unusual company is making a defiant marketing move by releasing two more “premium drinks” and donating profits to help Ukraine’s refugees.

3. BBC News website: Spotify paid $7bn to music industry rights holders last year, accounting for almost 25% of the industry’s total revenues

The streaming giant said 52,600 artists earned more than $10,000 (£7,500) from Spotify in 2021. Of those, 130 were paid more than $5m (£3.8m) over the last 12 months.

4. BBC News website: Hospital capacity to be assessed before racing at this year’s TT races can go ahead

Due to the creation of a dedicated Covid ward, the number of beds available for orthopaedic trauma patients has been reduced. Two wards were usually kept free for dealing with trauma patients capacity was reduced from 31 beds to just 16.

All elective orthopaedic surgery would also be cancelled during the period as was the case in previous years, he added.

The TT races are in June – really exciting to watch but so, so dangerous that even the hospital has to make special preparations

5. BBC News website: More must be done to recover unpaid taxes due to Covid

The Public Accounts Committee said the total UK tax debt was £39bn – more than double the amount at the start of 2020. It said HM Revenue and Customs must pursue businesses and individuals who were choosing not to pay their taxes while supporting those still struggling with the impact of the pandemic.

After the UK first entered lockdown, HMRC paused most debt collection activity. The move, along with the wider economic impact of the pandemic, saw the number of taxpayers in debt rise from about 3.8 million in January 2020 to 6.2 million in September 2021.

6. BBC News website: Some Mazda drivers in Washington State unable to retune from National Public Radio network

Owners of 2014-17 Mazdas, in the Puget Sound area, contacted KUOW to report their infotainment systems were permanently locked in to the network. Missing file extensions in album images sent with its digital-radio broadcast reportedly triggered the glitch.

The fix, according to Mazda, requires the replacement of the $1,500 connectivity master unit but Mazda said customers could apply for a free “goodwill” replacement.

That’s big of Mazda

Run (x4), swim, gym, (plus sports bras and quantum hair)

The Imelda Marcos of running

My wife’s car managed to acquire a screw in a tyre so some of Monday was spent faffing about getting it fixed – but a good excuse for a meandering 6km (3.7 mile) run to collect the re-shod car.

Back to the pool for my 6th swim doctor session in the early evening. It was another good and enjoyable session with a mix of swimming and drills – I swam another 1000m. We even began to practice tumble turns … I can hardly wait to try then in an open-water triathlon swim.

On Monday night I noticed two rather important things:

  • first, the event’s 20-week ultra training plan has a bit of a cut-back this week to end the first 4 week block,
  • second, using an over-ambitious 16 week plan for last year’s 50km, I ran 64km (40 miles) in week 3 and injured myself in week 4 so I couldn’t run for a month.

It felt like too much of a coincidence so I scaled back my plans for the week and ran for 10.2km (6.4 miles) on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday my friend and training partner phoned to tell me that he’d just tested positive for Covid. The chances are that he caught it at a meeting on last Wednesday or Thursday – most importantly, he is feeling fine.

I had driven us to both the gym on Friday and swimming on Monday (only 5 minutes each way) and he joined my wife and me for the (entirely outdoor) trip to the pop-up snack bar on Sunday.

I’m told that lateral flow tests don’t tend to give positive results until about 5 days after infection – but, typically, you are probably not infectious at all for the first 2 or 3 days. Indeed, a friend who has a senior position in the NHS says that the chances of passing Covid on while testing negative in the first 5 days after catching it, are small. My wife and I are feeling fine and probably haven’t caught it – I tested negative on Tuesday but I’ll keep testing.

It rained heavily on Wednesday. I would always prefer running outside to using a treadmill but I went to the gym and ran for 6.7km (4.2 miles), just to make it a bit easier for the long run to get me to 40km for the week.

A negative test on Thursday morning, so it was a trip to our older son’s house in Kingston-upon-Thames to help fix a springy floor (crumbled mortar beneath one of the bricks supporting the sill plate). It counts as a sort of rest day.

Friday, as ever, (and after another negative test) was the gym and the bike shop but it was a really nice day so I did the long run in the afternoon – just over 19km (12 miles). That’s the running done for the week as we have friends for Sunday lunch and others for Sunday evening and that means preparation on Saturday. I did manage to cut back – long run down from 25km last week and the weeks’ total down to 42km from 51km (26 miles from over 31 miles) – and no hills. My legs are thanking me for that.

Having been so smug at fitting it all in around the double entertaining on Sunday, our friends had to cancel their Sunday lunch visit after both testing positive for Covid. On that topic, I felt a bit off colour on Saturday morning … but tested negative. I lit the bonfire in the afternoon, I’m sure that smoke inhalation is a Covid deterrent.

Sunday was another very pleasant day but, very sadly, our friend continued to test positive (probably 10 days after catching it) so the evening went the same way as lunch already had. The house is very clean – the celeriac, leek, cannellini bean and artichoke heart gratin is going to take some eating but I’m just the man for the job.

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

The first 4 weeks of the event’s 20-week training plan had 91km of running. I’ve done 189km and (with much crossing of things and touching of wood) am feeling OK.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: To be tall you need not necessarily climb a hill

2. BBC News website: Changes to ‘basket’ of goods used to assess UK cost of living

Changed behaviours due to Covid probably accounts for many of the changes, including the removal of men’s suits and doughnuts and the addition of tinned beans, meat-free sausages, pet collars, sports bras and crop tops.

Anti-bacterial wipes, as well as craft and hobby kits for adults, were included in the basket of goods for the first time but items such as atlas books or encyclopaedias, as well as coal, are out.

3. BBC News website: Black hole paradox solved by “quantum hair”

The paradox was the problem of making two key theories compatible – Einstein’s general theory of relativity says information about what goes into a black hole cannot come out, but quantum mechanics says that is impossible.

Scientists now say they have shown that the constituents of the star leave an imprint in the black hole’s gravitational field. The scientists named the imprint “quantum hair” because their theory supersedes an earlier idea called the “no hair theorem” developed in the 1960s.

Ah, just as I always suspected

4. BBC News website: A 100 year old juvenile

A post-mortem examination has revealed that a rare species of shark stranded in Cornwall was a 3.96m (13ft) long juvenile that could have been more than 100 years old. The Greenland shark is believed to be the longest living vertebrate, with some living up to 500 years.

5. Bravo Italy for winning in Cardiff to end a 36 game losing streak in the Six Nations Rugby Championship.

Run (x4), swim, gym, turbo (plus space debris and witchcraft)

On Monday morning my wife dog-walked with a friend so I ran – 10.4km (6.5 miles). My current aim is a weekly 40+km, including a long run of over 20km, so a Monday run gets it off to a good start.

Back to the pool for the swim doctor session on Monday evening. Being pig-headed, I had hoped that I could improve my swimming simply by doing more swimming – wrong – I think that would have just ingrained my (many and grievous) faults. Accordingly, my attempt to improve my (very poor) technique has involved taking it apart before trying to put it together again.

The session on Monday was encouraging – it involved more swimming and fewer drills so I had the chance to put together what (I hoped) I’d learnt over the last few weeks. I swam for about 1000m, including some sprint laps (not that anyone watching would have known that’s what they were) and it felt better. Perhaps learning processes like this are inevitably 2 steps (strokes?) backwards to go 3 forwards?

I ran one the the usual routes with my wife on Tuesday morning for 7.2km (4.45 miles). It was quite hard – 7 sessions in 6 days were certainly taking their toll. Despite that, I set off for the the usual hill reps on Wednesday.

Even on the run to the hill it was clear it was not a good idea – and the stiff headwind for each ascent just added insult to injury. I managed to slog on for the normal 8 reps – this time the Garmin recorded 8.5km and 285m of ascent (6.3 miles and 925 feet).

Very tough, but useful for two things – first, I managed to find the resolve to get it finished, second, I know I have to listen better when my body says it needs a rest.

I mowed on Wednesday afternoon – the first cut of the year (I am distraught that there doesn’t seem to be a Strava ‘mowing’ category) – but at least it was sitting down. I took Thursday as a day off. A gym session on Friday, followed by the regular stint in the charity bike shop.

In an eternal triumph of optimism over experience, I always expect to wake up after a couple of days off running, feeling fit and ready for anything. Yet again I was proved wrong on Saturday morning but I did get out and slogged around slowly in a nasty wind for the week’s long run – a hard 25km (15.5 miles). I’m getting to the distances where my current approach of ‘get up, have a cup of coffee and go for the run, taking nothing with me’ isn’t going to be quite enough.

That’s 51km (over 31 miles) for the week – I’ve just got to do twice that in one go for July’s ultra …

On Sunday we walked to a local farm where they were doing a pop-up snack bar to raise funds for the Ukraine. The farm is owned by the National Trust and the tenant (who comes across really well) who has recently taken it over was, in a previous existence, half of the electronic music duo ‘Groove Armada’ responsible for, among others, the almost Shakespearean “I see you baby (shaking that ..)’. It’s a strange world.

I don’t know if it was a good idea but, later, I got on the turbo for a quick spin to stretch the legs after Saturday’s run – 30 minutes @28.5kph (17.7mph).

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: However far a stream flows, it doesn’t forget its origin

2. BBC News website: Discarded rocket part crashes into the Moon

First sighted from Earth in March 2015, the three-tonne rocket part had been tracked for a number of years. At first, astronomers thought it might have belonged to Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm, and then said it was Chinese – something China denies.

The rocket stage would have dug out a small crater and created a plume of dust but the effects of the impact on the Moon should have been minor.

The European Space Agency estimates there are now 36,550 pieces of space junk – hardware discarded from missions or satellites without enough fuel or energy to return to Earth – larger than 10cm (4 inches). 

3. BBC News website: South African breaks the men’s 50km record in his first race at the distance

Stephen Mokoka won the 50km (31 miles) race in 2:40:13, beating the time of 2:42:07 set by Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa last year. World Athletics added the 50km distance to the list of events for which world records are recognised in July 2021

“I’m tired. It’s a long way, but I enjoyed it,” he said.

Very much echoing my thoughts from last July’s 50km ultra (in which I did not set a world or any other record of any description). I hope I can say the same after this July’s 100km.

4. BBC News website: Scottish first minister apologises for witchcraft accusations

Nicola Sturgeon has offered a formal apology for the “egregious historic injustice” suffered by people accused of witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Witch hunts took place in many countries during that period, but academics say Scotland’s execution rate was five times the European average. It is thought 4,000 Scots, mostly women, were accused of breaking the Witchcraft Act between 1563 and 1736.

Confessions were regularly secured under torture, with those condemned strangled and burned at the stake.

A terrible period in history but this is certainly getting to the heart of current issues

5. BBC News website: Murder suspect wins prison beauty pageant

A Nigerian woman who is facing trial for the suspected murder of a businessman has been crowned Miss Cell 2022, at Kirikiri prison in Lagos. Ms Ojukwu was seen wearing a crown in photos taken at Wednesday’s pageant in the prison, which the correctional services boss said was part of International Women’s Day celebrations.

and first prize is usually an exotic foreign holiday … but perhaps not in this case

6. BBC News website: 100 mile world record

In January, at the Spartanion 12-hour race in Tel Aviv, Lithuanian Aleksandr Sorokin maintained a 6:31/mile pace for 100 miles. His time of 10:51:39 smashed his own 100-mile world record of 11:14:56 and set the record for the greatest distance ever run in 12 hours – 110.23 miles – besting his own previous record of 105.82 miles.

For the first 65 miles, Sorokin held a pace that ranged between 6:13 and 6:25 per mile. He kept things up with a sub-6:55 pace as he reached the 100-mile split before eventually slowing to 7:10 and then 7:15 over the final miles.

Wow – 7:15/mile is ‘slowing’?

Run (x4), swim, gym, turbo (plus life flashing before your eyes and a city of the future)

While so many things change, the pain of an hour on the turbo doesn’t

I’m not sure if it’s a permanent thing but, for the second week, Monday started with a run (partly with my wife) of a bit over 9km (5.8 miles) and finished with the evening ‘swim doctor’ session.

The session was testing, as usual. Butterfly stroke was optional – so I stuck with front crawl as I’d prefer to get closer to being proficient at that than confuse myself with something new. About 500m swum, I guess, and enjoyable in that sort of ‘my, this is incredibly hard’ way.

After Monday’s run and swim, a long run was probably not the best idea on Tuesday but I managed 22km (13.7 mIles) a bit faster than last Friday’s long run. Chilly, blustery and a few spits of rain but it was, again, strangely enjoyable. It’s great to have got the long run out of the way early as it does tend to become a bit of a millstone if still to be done later in the week.

I had a good example of the power of the mind on Tuesday’s run. I was going at around 6:15/km and feeling that was plenty fast enough and that I didn’t have a lot left. Coming into the village I was overtaken by a chap I don’t know but have seen many times – wanting to have a brief chat I fell into pace with him and, with my mind occupied with something other than my own running, my 22nd and final km was run at 5:03/km.

Friends came over for supper on Tuesday evening and I took a rest on a very cool and wet Wednesday. Back to the running on Thursday – a very decent run of just over 7km (4.4 miles), with my wife.

Gym and charity bike shop on Friday, followed by hill reps on a cold and breezy Saturday morning – 9km and 296m of ascent (5.6 miles and 970 feet).

I got on the turbo trainer on Sunday. That’s the first time for a couple of weeks but my first ‘event’ of the year is a sportive in early April so I do need to start peddling. The aim was really just time on the bike but I managed 28.1km (17.4 miles) in an hour.

For now at least, I’m sticking with my aim of pushing through 40km of running each week with one longer run. With 4 runs, a swim, a session in the gym, and one on the turbo, I’ve got to double up on one day to get a rest day. Any more sessions (I should be swimming at least twice and getting out on the bike) would mean more double exercise days. This is getting difficult and simply confirms my admiration for proper multi-sport athletes.

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

The cumulative total running required in the first 2 weeks of the 20-week ultra training plan was 43km. I’ve done 96km – I think I’m on track (!) as long as I don’t do too much, too soon.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Where there is love, there is no darkness

2. BBC News website: Life may actually flash before your eyes on death

A team of scientists set out to measure the brainwaves of an 87-year-old patient who had developed epilepsy. But during the neurological recording, he suffered a fatal heart attack – offering an unexpected recording of a dying brain.

It revealed that in the 30 seconds before and after the attack, the man’s brainwaves followed the same patterns as dreaming or recalling memories.

3. BBC News website: Ultimate football irony?

The EFL cup final at Wembley Stadium was Chelsea v Liverpool and was 0-0 at the end of extra time, which meant it went to penalties. In the last few seconds of the game, Chelsea made a substitution to bring on a goalkeeper with a reputation for saving penalties.

Against all the odds, all 20 outfield players scored their penalties which meant that the two goalkeepers had to take one each. The Liverpool ‘keeper scored (meaning that the Chelsea specialist penalty saver had conceded all 11 that he faced) but he then missed his own attempt, giving Liverpool the win.

4. BBC News website: Neom – a futuristic eco-city

Neom claims to be a “blueprint for tomorrow in which humanity progresses without compromise to the health of the planet”. It will feature glow-in-the dark beaches, billions of trees, levitating trains and a fake moon.

It’s a £366bn ($500bn) project that is part of Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan to wean the country off oil. The plan is for a car-free, carbon-free city built in a straight line over 100 miles long in the desert.

It will cover a total area of over 26,500 sq-km (10,230 sq-miles) – larger than Kuwait or Israel – Neom will, developers claim, exist entirely outside the confines of the current Saudi judicial system, governed by an autonomous legal system that will be drafted by investors.

Run (x4), swim, gym, plus forest living and the perfect hat-trick (nearly)

No bluebells yet although there were loads of snowdrops this week – Spring must be on its way?

Recently, Monday exercise has been just an evening ‘swim doctor’ session. This week my wife, back from an injury, decided on a morning run so I went with her in a cold and very strong wind.

We set out to do hill reps thinking it would be more sheltered from the wind that was gusting to 50mph (80kph) – but we cut them short (I’d done 6) after a sizeable branch fell from the trees overhead. I did a loop to add some mileage and recorded 9.3km (5.8 miles) with 215m of ascent (705 feet).

All the others at the evening swim session were beginners so they were doing drills width-wise. That stopped me swimming lengths so I joined in with their drills. At the end of the session, lengths became possible and, to my surprise, I was swimming them in a much improved (but still relatively poor) 24 strokes compared to my previous (completely pathetic) rate of nearer 30 strokes. Some progress, at last.

After a bit of research, I had found a spray that looked likely to help with my sinus’ sensitivity to the pool’s chlorine. I tried a dose before I went and one when I got back – no sneezing fits during the night and relatively clear sinuses which is encouraging.

My running partner still hors de combat thanks to his dodgy ankle – sadly, a bit dodgier than it initially appeared – and will be off running for a little while yet. He runs and cycles well (ankles permitting) but, like me, finds the swimming harder. Replacing running with swimming for a couple of weeks won’t exactly be fun but might pay off for him in triathlon terms?

The 20-week ultra marathon training programme started on Monday but I’m ignoring that for now as I’ll be doing more mileage anyway in the early weeks. I didn’t fancy going up to run on the Ridgeway in the current bitingly cold winds so, in my friend’s absence, I’ve decided to see if I can do 40+km each week, with one longer run. The first week that the training plan gets beyond 40km is week 11.

I took Tuesday off exercise but ran with my wife on Wednesday – just over 7km (4.4 miles). I swapped days at the gym and went with my training partner on Thursday for what turned out to be a good session. With more running, I’m cutting back a bit on the leg exercises and doing more on the core and upper body to help my swimming. Struggling with technique? Go for brute force.

The rest of the day was for doing chores and being gravely sad about the Russian invasion of Ukraine – I didn’t think I’d live to see any such military action in Europe. There were reports of more than 1700 arrests at anti-war protests across Russia on Thursday – brave people. Everything seems horribly trivial in comparison to what’s going on there.

On Friday, I resisted another visit to the gym but after my stint at the charity bike shop the weather was so much better than the recent muck we’ve been having that I decided to go for the week’s long slow run. With no hat, gloves, buff or jacket, but with a plan for about 18km, I pushed on to complete the half marathon – 21.3km (13.2 miles), very slowly.

Having doubled up on Monday, I took a second rest day on Saturday but on Sunday I made up for the two missed hill reps from Monday (by running three of them) and finished off with six laps around the old hill fort – 10.9km (6.8 miles). It was sunny but chilly – hat, buff, gloves and jacket all made a return.

A decent week for the exercise with some swimming progress and 48.5km (just over 30 miles) of running – but still the saddest week I can remember for a long time.

Running shoes

On Monday a second pair of Puma Speed 500 Ignites (how do they come up with the names?) went through 800km and have been retired from active service. The soles confirm that I still under-pronate and run heavier on my left foot than my right. Pair 3 are at 230km and pair 4 are waiting in their box.

One pair of Puma ‘Netfits’ are well used with a second new pair also in a box. My trail shoes and two pairs of Asics have about 300km between them and my minimalist shoes have 50km and are waiting for better weather.

Even with over 1000km of ultra training to be run by July, it feels like I have plenty enough – but what if any of them split, or rip, or start to hurt, or leave home to join the circus …. and does anyone really have enough in the way of running shoes?

Two new pairs of Puma Velocity Nitro running shoes have arrived!

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: A fish that keeps its mouth closed never gets hooked

2. BBC News website: Disney appoints executive to lead metaverse strategy

Technology giants, including Facebook owner Meta and Microsoft, are pouring billions of dollars into the metaverse which Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said is “the next great storytelling frontier”.

He describes the metaverse as a “perfect place to pursue our strategic pillars of storytelling excellence, innovation, and audience focus” giving “an opportunity to connect those universes and create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories.

I thought we had enough problems with the current universe (or perhaps that’s why we have to invent another?). I don’t intend to apply for a passport to any metaverse

3. BBC News website: in Man lives, unnoticed, in forest for 30 years

The 79 year old grew up in a village which was knocked down in the 1980s to make way for new high-rise buildings in Singapore, one of the world’s most highly urbanised countries. Unable to secure new government accommodation and not wanting to impose on his family he went to a forest close to his old home and started to spend nights in a makeshift shelter before making the move permenant.

He grew his own food and sold flowers and vegetables in the markets. He even managed weekly trip to an Indonesian island where, in his 60s, he had a child with a local woman.

The now shares a small one bedroom flat with another man and works as a driver, and sometimes a gardener. He says he prefers living in a flat but misses the freedom of life in the forest. “I return to the forest every single day. I wake up at 3 AM, get dressed and head out to check on my vegetables, all before my workday begins.”

Good for him. I’ll bet he’s excited at the prospect of the metaverse.

4. BBC News website: Man dies after allegedly having leg sawn off

A man has been charged with murder after allegedly sawing another man’s leg off in north-eastern Australia. Police believe the man and the suspect had some sort of arrangement in which the younger man would amputate the older man’s leg.

Police said the men drove to the park together before the 36-year-old allegedly cut the other’s leg off under the knee with a circular saw. The suspect assisted the injured man back to the car before leaving on foot. A passer-by found the injured man and called the emergency services, but the 66-year-old died shortly afterwards.

5. BBC News website: New Zealand defender Meikayla Moore hits hat-trick

In fact, in the match against the USA, she scored the ‘perfect’ hat-trick – one goal with with her left foot, one with her right foot and one with a header. Sadly, they were all in her own net.

Swim, run (x4), gym, plus Big Jim and Chinese Friends having a chat(!)

Rather inconsequential local storm damage

Monday was Valentine’s Day. I went for broke in the cooking this year with lobster thermidor – a good choice as it just about made up for me going to the swim doctor session in the early evening.

The session was based on the breaststroke, which is of little interest to me as I really only want to swim front crawl for the purpose of triathlons. However, no matter how bad I was at the drills (and I was really bad), I enjoyed the session (I don’t know why). It’s all valuable learning – I now know that while the medial collateral ligament I hurt a couple of years ago is happy with running, cycling and crawl leg kick, it doesn’t like the sideways pressure of a breast stroke leg kick.

The lobster thermidor was a great success, despite the fact that I’d never tackled a lobster before (I bought whole lobsters and had to ‘dismantle’ them) and had little idea of what a thermidor sauce was before making one.

Last week, my usual reaction to the pool (the chlorine?) had been mild, this week, I started sneezing at 3am. Half an hour and three handkerchiefs later that stopped but I couldn’t breathe through my nose for the rest of the night – rather miserable. I’m not sure what to do about it – I could try a nose clip but I have tried one before and wasn’t keen. Perhaps there is a sinus spray I can try – I’ll research it.

The plan had been to do hill reps on Tuesday but I was tired and still unable to breathe freely – and it was cold and very wet. It didn’t take much to decide not to run but I did get out to pick up our younger son who came home for a ‘reading week’ during his PGCE (teacher training) course. He and I did a very enjoyable 10.4km (6.4 miles) in much milder – but still windy – conditions on Wednesday morning.

My running partner is, sensibly, protecting a less-than-100% ankle so our planned Ridgeway run for Thursday was postponed. With enthusiasm, I embraced the concept of a cut-back week (for long, or trail, runs at least) but that didn’t mean I was excused 8 hill reps on Thursday – which logged 8.6km with 293m of ascent (5.5 miles and 960 feet). I creaked for the rest of the day and the gym on Friday was quite difficult too but the stint in the bike shop was therapeutic.

Europe, including the UK, has been hit by a couple of storms this week with very dangerous winds which, sadly, caused some fatalities. In Oxfordshire, we have been lucky to be only on the edge of the worst affected areas – we suffered little more than a short power failure, but we spent the rest of the day hunkered down in the house.

If you want a good example of how having a running companion can be a benefit and a curse, Saturday is a case in point.

I woke still feeling creaky and decided that, at most, I might get on the turbo later in the day. Then our son came down in running kit and I immediately decided to go with him. By the time I got ready, it was raining heavily – I would have canned the run but the rain was set in for the day so we went anyway. Within 2km, the rain was colder and heavier, interspersed with sleet for light relief.

The best decision we made was at the point where we either turn back to make it 10km or carry on home for 7km. In all, 7.2km @ 5.48/km, completely soaked. It was strangely enjoyable, perhaps because normally it wouldn’t have happened and perhaps because it was properly daft to have done it.

My wife has been struggling with an injury but had improved enough to try a run on Sunday so we had a gentle outing for 7.88km (4.9 miles) to finish off the week.

Interesting stuff this week

1. The big news of the week was Big Jim over at Fit Recovery smashing through the 1 million views on his website where he tackles recovery from addiction, cycling, bowling, family, life and all that sort of stuff with humour and good sense. If you don’t know the site, why not have a look (after all, we’ve got to get him to 2 million).

By tradition, the African wise words are always first in this section – but not this week

2. African wise words: Don’t think there are no crocodiles just because the water is calm

3. BBC News website: Chinese streaming platforms accused of censoring Friends

Friends has a massive following in China, with many crediting the show with teaching them English and introducing them to US culture but Chinese fans have complained of scenes being deleted, including those that refer to a lesbian character, and another featuring a same-sex kiss.

Incorrect subtitles were also used to downplay sexual references. In one scene, the phrase “multiple orgasms” was translated to the Chinese phrase for “women have endless gossips”.

4. BBC News website: One-word gaffe invalidates thousands of baptisms

At the centre of the controversy is a pastor’s use of the word “we” instead of “I” in the phrase “I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Catholic teaching is that only Jesus Christ has the power to baptise – not the wider community or the Church.

According to the Catholic Diocese, the Pastor was reciting the words incorrectly until 17 June 2021. The Church has declared all baptisms he conducted up to that date invalid – local media has put the number of baptisms affected in the thousands.

I wonder if God is as concerned about this as the church is?

5. BBC News website: Saudi Arabia: 28,000 women apply for 30 train driver jobs

For decades, Saudi Arabia had one of the world’s lowest female workforce participation rates and this is the first time such roles have been advertised for women.

In recent years the government has made efforts to increase the number of women in work as part of a plan to diversify the oil-dependent economy. As a result of such changes, the participation of women in the workforce has almost doubled over the past five years to 33%, and more women than men entered the workforce in the first half of last year.

6. BBC News website: American ultra runner breaks 100-mile world record

Camille Herron broke her own women’s world record in winning the USA Track and Field 100-mile Championships. The 40-year-old beat her previous mark by almost a minute and a half, winning in 12 hours 41 minutes 11 seconds – averaging around 7:37 minutes per mile. She finished almost half an hour ahead of first male athlete who came home in 13:10:25.

Bravo!

7. With the storms in the news this week, I’ve decided to write a book about the high winds – I’ve started the first draft.

Sorry