Thursday, 27 April 2017

THE LONDON MARATHON - APRIL 23 2017

What a day! What a life! What a time!

Three and a half minutes faster than the time I recorded in my first marathon - London 2012.

05:37:29 in London in 2017.

05:40:55 in London in 2012.

05:42:10 in Edinburgh in 2014.

Yes, it would have been marvellous if  I could have maintained continuous running beyond the half marathon point - rather than switch to speed walking and running. I had after all run continuously for at least 17 miles in training. But when from 8 miles you are increasingly surrounded by walking runners, it becomes harder and harder to resist the switch. And my second half marathon was not much slower than my first - just under 3 hours compared with  2 hours 38 minutes. My dad used to take me walking when I was knee high to a grasshopper and I learned to be a fast walker from that very young age in order to keep up. I once had to kick my dad's ankles hard when he had over-walked me. Sometimes you can't just find the words!

Joy in the Meet and Greet to the south-west of Admiralty Arch

I remember posting after the Oxford half marathon in October last year and remarking on how inspiring it is to experience a city being closed down and refocused on one sporting event in the name of charity and community. It was extraordinary in Oxford - imagine how awesome it is when the city in which you find yourself is one of  the greatest capitals on our planet.

London - April 23, 2017 - what a privilege to be in that place at that time. And to be one of  the

Monday, 3 April 2017

COUNTDOWN TO THE LONDON MARATHON - PART 5

This will be my final running blog before April 23 and the 2017 London Marathon - barring injury or other athletic nightmares. Yesterday was the last long run in the longer and longer Sunday run sequence. The next two Sundays will be run as part of the Tapering Programme before the marathon itself - 120 minutes next week and 70 minutes the week after. Then the 26 miles challenge in London.

First, the tale of Sunday's morning run as told by me yesterday afternoon on the Salvation Army runners website:

'My last long run today (03:06:24 and around 17.5 miles) - congratulations again to Sparky Joseph Holly for the long run and ode - and I was quite chuffed to add the half-mile from Mousehole up to Paul to the distance - and then back down to Mousehole. The emphasis is on the 'up'. I didn't so much run up the never-ending ascent but gently jog. The lone rambler walking ahead of me I took some time to catch up and pass with a friendly greeting - and then there was nothing to motivate me but the thought I could eventually sit in front of this computer and type the words 'I ran from Mousehole up to Paul before turning round at about 92 minutes of continuous running from Marazion.' Next Sunday, 120 minutes ...

From the village of  Paul, half-a-mile up from Mousehole, looking back towards Newlyn and Penzance


I'm really quite proud of having made that ascent from Mousehole to Paul jogging all the way. It is a  very steep hill and the sign in Paul proclaims that Mousehole is half-a-mile away. The pub and the church and the village green all entice me to stay for longer - this is surely a village setting that would have been taken to heart by Jago Stone, the subject of my biography and latest work of literature - see this link here. (I can't resist the author's urge to plug his own work: 'The Road to Corbyn' remains a fine 21st century secular and socialist update of John Bunyan's 17th century Christian classic 'The Pilgrim's Progress' - see another link  here. If you haven't yet got a copy or know someone who


Monday, 20 March 2017

COUNTDOWN TO THE LONDON MARATHON 2017 - PART 4

In my last Countdown to April 23 2017 blog, I had managed 15 miles of  continuous running. I had reached the edge of inner Mousehole but had not yet got to the very heart of the port with its wonderful harbour views. And now - as of yesterday, Sunday 19 April, I have!

Mousehole - an idyllic Cornish harbour - in the distance the stretch of the run from Penzance to Marazion


But there was a glitch in the week before with no long run on Sunday 12 April. After a strenuous short hill run in very windy conditions, I developed a familiar sensation in my lower back that meant I had to switch to a routine of self-treatment - a combination of rest and walking and back rack exercises - for a few days, with a session as normal  from my physiotherapist, Ben Donaldson and an extra session with my chiropractor, Tanya. By Wednesday of last week I was fit enough to get another run on my local circuit under my belt - 3.5 miles  in a fast for me 34 minutes - followed  by a good gym session on Thursday. And then on Sunday I returned to the long run from Marazion out to Mousehole and back.

Here's a copy of my post on the Sally Army marathon runners website that I posted after the run yesterday.


'I'm back running and training! My chiropractic treatment on Tuesday confirmed my recovery from the lower back glitch and I had a successful and quite fast local and hilly circuit run on Wednesday (3.5 miles in 34 minutes), followed by a good gym session on Thursday. Today I set out from the Marazion car park with the desire to run for 160 minutes without stopping. The first 45 minutes saw


Monday, 6 March 2017

COUNTDOWN TO THE LONDON MARATHON 2017 - PART 3

Another month gone - five more Sunday morning long runs under my belt since the last blog - see this link for Part 2 of the Countdown to the London Marathon 2017 series. I note I wrote and posted on Saturday February 4 2017 which was actually the day before I switched from my local circuit runs to the largely flat route from Marazion heading west to Penzance and then Newlyn and on to Mousehole and eventually beyond - and returning when I reached the set time for that week.

Here's the history of the progress so far:

Marazion car park to Newlyn town sign - 50 minutes and return in 53 minutes and then running around Marazion to get to the target time of 110 minutes (and 45 seconds) - Sunday 5 Feb.

Marazion car park to just past Newlyn - 60 minutes (aiming for a target time of 120 minutes of continuous running) and then returning to the car at 129 minutes (and 45 seconds) after taking a

St Michael's Mount from Marazion - always the object of desire on the return journey.


wrong turn on the coastal foot path - doh! - Sunday 12 Feb.

Marazion car park to almost the outer limit of Mousehole - 65 minutes - and then turning round and returning to Marazion and the car in 130 minutes and 40 seconds - Sunday 19 Feb.

Marazion car park to inside the outer reaches of  Mousehole - 70 minutes - and then back to Marazion and the car in 137 minutes and 32 seconds. Very fierce wind in my face running out from Marazion that lengthended the journey to Newlyn by three minutes - the wind was on my back on the return journey - Sunday 26 Feb.

Marazion car park to just before the centre of Mousehole in 75 minutes (still  a strong head wind in


Thursday, 2 March 2017

JEREMY CORBYN IS A VERY DANGEROUS MAN

'He will have to go.'

It could be a Tory talking - a member of the 1% who control so much of our society's wealth and power and who sees a socialist vision as anathema - a deadly threat to their social and political interests.    .

Or it could be a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party - a Labour M.P. - since a majority of the PLP remain convinced that Labour will never be returned to power advocating socialist policies under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn whose declared manifesto for the next election, in 2020 or earlier, is based on ten pledges to secure socialism for the 21st century - see my three blogs using this link for the first blog and accessing the other two blogs from there.    

Those who directly represent the interests of the 1% are united in their determination to destroy Jeremy Corbyn as a political force. They mock him. They ridicule him. But in doing so, they betray


Jeremy Corbyn - leader of the Labour Party in the UK


their fears. The former Conservative Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, warned in an interview with the Huffington Post that Mr Corbyn's brand of left-wing populism would be hard to campaign against. It was not certain he would lose an election. He is quoted: "If you have another recession or if the Conservative government becomes very unpopular, he could win"  - see p,140 in 'The Road to Corbyn' by Rob Donovan (2016) using this link.

Those who are members of the Parliamentary Labour Party - or who are like-minded members of local constituency Labour groups - and are still wedded to the ideology of New Labour and believe in Tony Blair's abandonment of socialism as the passport to election success - face an existential crisis. Their Party lost in the General Elections of 2010 and 2015 despite following the New Labour

Monday, 27 February 2017

JAGO STONE - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION - PART 4

At some point next year, in 2018, I will be making contact with mainstream publishers to see who may be interested in putting their money into my biography of Jago Stone. Self-publishing - as I did with 'The Road to Corbyn' - remains on the table as an option. Either way, the more people who express an interest at this stage the better the sales will be come publication. That's why both the Jago Stone website and the Jago Stone Facebook page contain a box to fill in to express an interest in purchasing on publication - and being kept updated on the progress  towards that point.

Do please look and find the box and if you're interested fill in the box.

Here's the link for the UK readers.

Here's the link in The Page for America.
        

As you will know from my last Jago blog, there has been much new detail emerging ever since the New Year began. Here is the input from Marie-Elena Baker - Laina Baker - who left a comment on the first of my earlier American Connection blogs:

'This is so much fun to read! A real trip down memory lane. We (my husband and I) were stationed  at RAF Croughton, near USAF Upper Heyford) from the late 1960s through to 1981. I have 2 lovely watercolours, signed to my husband and I  from Jago Stone (1976) - Anne Hathaway's House and Trinity Church - two Stratford-upon-Avon views ... I would be happy to send them to  you. Jago even wrote notes on how it should  be framed on one of 


Trinity Church. Stratford-upon-Avon - Jago Stone (1976) - Specially painted for Laina and Rick Baker 


the pictures ... We met him though a friend who was stationed at Upper Heyford hospital ... He even sold  us one of his newly published books'.

That would have been 'The Burglar's  Bedside  Companion'- Jago's autobiography, published in 1975. Laina communicated with me
further and gave me permission to use names and show the


Monday, 20 February 2017

JAGO STONE - TWO DAYS EXPLORED: A BBC RADIO 4 INTERVIEW IN 1971 AND ITS AIRING AGAIN IN 2017

As each week goes past and fresh discoveries emerge from the online search for the identity of Jago Stone as a character and as an artist, I feel more and more excited as his biographer. My gut academic instinct that this style of research would pay rich dividends has been fully vindicated. I remember with pleasure the excitement of my research discoveries during the years from 1995-2003 spent exploring the subject of Drink in Victorian Norwich for my Ph.D. Now with the subject as Jago Stone and his times there is fresh delight in being the historian and practising the skills of this profession.

Using the material that comes to light, together with the detail that can be taken as fact already, the historian makes an interpretation of the past. That is what I am doing. My subject matter is not just Jago Stone. His 20th century world in all its complexity and change is a critical part of my focus. To understand Jago, make sense of the social  worlds he inhabited. And always remember the prerequisite of the good historian is the capacity for empathy. 

And so to a day in 2017 - last Thursday, in fact, the 16th of February. The day of my appointment at the British Library in London. The British Library opens at 9.30 am. Here is a photo I took of the queue ahead of me shortly after I joined it at 9.15. By 9.32 when the doors opened, the queue had increased nearly ten-fold and snaked around the piazza outside.

Queuing for the opening of The British Library on 16.02.2017


By 10.10 am I had completed my full registration and was sitting in a listening booth ready for the first of the three twenty minute plays of the item I had travelled overnight from Cornwall to hear. My four and a half hours inside the booth gave me the opportunity to make a full transcript of