Monday, 10 August 2015

Cheers, Boos and Coos!

156 has an 'Uh-oh' moment.
On Tuesday, pretty much on the spur of the moment, I decide to run the last of the Poppit Sand Series, a 5k race hosted by Cardigan Running Club which you’d be correct in thinking takes place on the wide beach at Poppit… Except it’s two laps of a looping course which begins on the road, encompasses marshy wetlands, stepping stones, grass, a long stretch of the beach and a narrow path across the dunes. It’s nine years since I last ran this course and my first mistake is to line up thinking I’m going to ace it, because, hey, I’m a hardened half-marathon runner now, aren’t I? Looking round though, I notice that the other entrants are predominantly – two thirds, in fact, - male and that although there is a handful of women in my age range they all have the wiry, determined look of seasoned club runners about them. I start to suspect this may be quite tough, a suspicion confirmed when the starter klaxon sounds and everyone else goes off like bats out of hell leaving me jogging along at my usual half marathon pace.

We hit the wetlands and I remember there’s been quite a lot of rain here over the last three weeks. Hovering by the first of a chain of muddy pools of unknown depth wondering about the best approach, I’m splattered by a big beefy man splashing straight through the middle. Lesson learned, I charge across wet stepping stones – eek! – up slippery banks, across boggy grass and merciless sand all the while pursued by a runner so hot on my heels I can hear his breath! Damnit, I think, I haven’t done all this work to be lapped at the last minute! You will NOT get past! But then, double damn, the runner in front of me STOPS in the part of the path so narrow and overgrown, I can’t get overtake! Gaargh! We reach the clearing and I manage what, in my head, is a sprint finish… although video evidence suggests otherwise… plus everyone else seems to have got there before me. I’m 90th out of 114 runners, but with the same time as nine years ago and some great memories. It might have been tough but I loved every minute!

On Saturday we set off down the M4 eagerly anticipating the Wales v Ireland game at the Millennium Stadium, a warm up for the rugby world cup. A severe traffic jam means we only just take our seats in time, but at least we turn up, unlike the Welsh team who put in a truly lack-lustre first half performance and barely redeem themselves in the second. ‘You want to get your money back on that,’ says Tom pointing to my brand new rugby top. It’s still an enjoyable occasion, though, and always worth savouring the atmosphere and the sound of 74,000 people singing. A couple of Bellini cocktails and an Italian meal afterwards also lift our spirits.

We complete our big day out by popping into see Lily, Russ and our granddaughter - since all the names in this blog are altered to protect the innocent, I’ll call her Bee. Thank you so much for all your good wishes; Bee’s coming out the other side of her operation very well with only a small scar to show that anything happened. As for me, I’m that lost cause, a hopelessly smitten grandmother!  I’ve never been that fussed about babies (there, I’ve said it) before but, seeing how quickly Bee’s personality is unfolding is nothing short of miraculous to me. Today, when I hold her in my arms and talk to her, she talks back!  Well, she smiles, coos and gurgles at me… to be fair, it’s not much of a conversation, but to me it’s the best feeling in the world!

Monday, 3 August 2015

When the Bough Broke

There was a moment last Tuesday evening when it felt as if the world was crashing down around us. 

Earlier in the day, my daughter had taken her new daughter to the doctor to discuss a red swelling that had appeared on the baby’s chest. Antibiotics were prescribed and a follow-up appointment made, but events took over. Our granddaughter was admitted to hospital that night and had emergency surgery the next morning for what had suddenly become a large abscess. 

I can’t even begin to describe what a traumatic time it’s been, but my granddaughter is now home, albeit with a truckload of antibiotics, painkillers and visits from the community nurses until her wound is healed. My daughter and son-in-law have been absolutely amazing and are hugely grateful to the NHS staff – out of hours, children’s’ assessment, the surgical team and everyone at The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital of Wales who took such great care of them. All I can do is add my heartfelt thanks to theirs.

In recovery: Dad-in-Law & Mum-in-Law meeting a brave little girl!