Saturday, 30 August 2008

NDB meet

The Newcastle and District Beagles met for early morning hound exercise on the Otterburn Ranges today. YC was up with the lark (or even before it) at 5 am, and was put through his paces trying to keep up with hounds as they ran up and down the hillside. Afterwards there was an excellent hunt breakfast.

Here is a photo of hounds vanning up and in the van.

Friday, 29 August 2008

North Sea dip

And after all that running and Deuchars, what better than a swim in the North Sea on a rare sunny and still morning at Tynemouth Long Sands? Chilly!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Fellrunning and Deuchars

YC got some hill training in today with a run up Cheviot and Hedgehope via his favourite Chevy Chase route. The weather was suitably poor on the tops - rain, mist, and wind - but the run was fun as always. In the evening, YC slaked the raging runner's thirst with some Deuchars at The Tynemouth Lodge. Michael Duff & Elaine were up in Tynemouth for a few days and are pictured here with the Duff family. Michael & Elaine are both in training for the Great North Run and were interested to learn more about fell running. Elaine hails from Northern Ireland and her home town is near the Mountains of Mourne. Reports that Elaine is already planning her first foray into the Mournes armed with a bumbag and fellshoes are probably not true.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Another Birthday

FC1 & FC2's cruise concluded with a last night at Brundall. After several glasses of ale in The Yare Hotel and then wine on board, the crews felt inspired to regale the local populace with after dinner classics such as Flower of Scotland, Blaydon Races, Blimey Blimey John Duff's 40 etc. The local populace were deeply grateful. After dinner, Rev T was even allowed back to the pub for a wall game [cunning darts game] where his mastery of the subtle arts knew no bounds (how do you score in this game? who is Gazza? etc etc)

The evening was given some extra zing by the celebration of Lois' birthday. Modestly prevents YC from divulging her age, but there was a clue in the signal for the day:
FC2 35

Here are the crews of FC1 & FC2 in the Yare Hotel, Brundall.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Blimey blimey YC's 40

After the RTI Race, FC1 (Stella Genesta) cruised for 8 days with FC2 (Mimosa) on the southern rivers. They visited old haunts (Beccles, Loddon, Reedham) and tried some of the fine Norfolk and Suffolk ales on offer (strictly out of a sense of duty): Messrs Adnams, Woodforde, and Green King were all found to be present and on good form.

Readers will be amazed to learn that YC reached the ripe old age of 40 on the cruise (yes, he knows he doesn't look it - readers are too kind). It blew a hoolie on the day which prevented any sailing, but this didn't stop a morning run, champagne lunch at Brundall and then a celebratory meal in Norwich at night.

All together now (to the tune of John Brown's body):

It's John Duff's birthday, he is 40 years today,
He has tested out the wind and he has shouted in dismay,
Now the girls of Norwich are waiting he must leave without delay,
His birthday is today.

Glory glory John Duff's 40 [times 3]
He's 40 years today.

He has gone off for a run, but he's a veteran from today,
He has past his prime and needs more wine to help him on his way,
He is catching up old codger, getting closer by the day,
His birthday is today.

Blimey blimey John Duff's 40 [times 3]
Young Wyvern's young no more.

Written and performed by the crew of Mimosa.
The signal of the day: TJD 40.
The crews of FC1 & FC2 in Cafe Uno, Norwich joined by Mels Farrar. Just where did all those wine bottles come from?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Mimosa wins The Round The Island Race

The fine craft Mimosa romped to victory in The Round The Island Race. Helmed by Andy Gordon and crewed by Lois, Emma and YC, Mimosa completed the course in 4 hours and 2 minutes to win by over 15 minutes on corrected time. Matilida was second and Henrietta third.

Readers might be familiar with the Round The Island Race which circumnavigates the Isle of Wight. But the Norfolk version of the race is far more prestigious (naturally). It has been won by household names such as Shruff and Sparklet, and Mimosa's name can now be added to that list.

The race circumnavigates "the island" formed by The Rivers Yare, Waveney and the New Cut, and involves shooting [going under with lowered mast] 2 bridges without the aid of a motor. The tides were not favourable, but a freshening south-east breeze meant most yachts completed the course. Shruff made it round; but Brian Thompson's cunning plan of sailing the Waveney first proved to be one of which Baldrick would have been proud, as The Cut was a long and slow tack against the tide.

Here's a photo of the victorious crew on Mimosa with the trophy.

And here's a photo of Mimosa under sail.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Olympic joke

2 athletes meet at the Olympic stadium.

First athlete - are you a pole vaulter?

Second athlete (in dodgy Teutonic accent) - Nein, I am a German. How did you know my name?

Off now for 10 days sailing on the fine craft Stella Genesta.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Fame at last

While checking out the pubs of North Shields last night with Chris, YC noticed this picture on the wall of The Low Lights Tavern. The chap with his arm round the barmaid's shoulder is John Duff (click on the photo for more detail).

And here is the caption under the picture which proves it.

But just in case any readers think that YC's satorial style is even more out of date than it actually is, YC can reassure them this picture was taken in the 1950's. The John Duff in question is Timothy Duff's cousin, so that makes him YC's first cousin once removed.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A run up The Northumberland Coast

More heavy rain put paid to a run in the hills, so YC settled for a run from Boulmer (pictured above) to Dunstanburgh Castle and back. It had been so wet that all the small streams were in spate, and the back path from Craster to Dunstan Steads was underwater.

After over 2 hours running, YC is now off to slake the raging runner's thirst. Chris Smith is instructing him in the noble art of drinking beer. It's an art that needs constant honing and refinement. But as always, YC is up to the challenge.
Chris at The Tap & Spile engaged in the said noble art.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A visit to Acomb

I made my annual pilgrimage to Acomb to see the Cox Family. The British summer was at its peak (tipping rain), so a visit to Waters Meet at The Tyne to build dams was out of the question. Instead we played "World Safari" - a fiendishly difficult board game that made me wish I had paid more attention to geography lessons at school. Young Walter Cox proved to be an ace at this, lapping up questions such as "One sixth of the World's population live in India - true or false?" (it's true). After a slow start, I made a late bid for glory until I was undone by "Name the 3 main fibre crops". It's not potatoes, rice etc, but cotton, jute, and flax - obvious, really.

When the rain finally cleared up, we adjourned for a game of swingball in the back garden. Again I was doing well, until a fiendish forehand from Charlie brought on a "3 fibre crops" moment, and I crumpled to defeat.

Here's a picture of The Cox family: John, Barbara, Richard with Walter and Charlie.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Forest Burn fell race

Suitably recovered from Friday, I purged my sins by running this short 3.5 mile race at what should have been the Forest Burn show. However due the show-field being waterlogged by the Great British summer, the show had been cancelled. I had a reasonable run, overtaking Karen Robertson (NFR) on the second climb up Ward Hill, and just sneaking past Les Turnbull from Norham on the final run in. I had a slight altercation with a hawthorn bush (it won), and now have some impressive scratches on my leg. The race was won by Nick Swinburn in a course record. He is an England international, but I'm sure with a bit more training I still won't beat him next year. There's a report and more photos on the NFR website - link given opposite.

Here's a photo courtesy of Rob Stephens (NFR). It's taken just after the second rather deep crossing of the Forest Burn - hence the watery shot.

And another one of the start (race organiser Will Horsley issues instructions such as "watch out for that hawthorn bush") again courtesy of Rob Stephens.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The morning after

I didn't feel like doing much for some strange reason, so settled for a stroll around Tynemouth past The Long Sands, Collingwood's Monument and The Castle.

Parting gifts from work

My commemorative Birtley News edition of Hello! magazine (featuring Your Correspondent with the celebrities) courtesy of Paul Nelson, and some storeys:ssp branded toilet paper for all those paperless closets around the world.

Here's a closer look at Hello! (click on the photo for full details).

In The Bacchus with Denise and Joanne

And with Martyn and Tim

Last Day at Work - Friday 8th August 2008

The year off has begun and I've done my last honest day's toil for a while. I adjourned to The Bacchus public house for an afternoon of quiet reflection, interspersed with several glasses of beer. On the beer menu were Peaches & Cream from The York Brewery and Rivet Catcher from Jarrow Brewery. Both were very good. In fact a bit too good...

Here's the professional department at storeys:ssp on my last morning.