Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Message for i-anya

I composed a very thoughtful response and it hasn't posted! Anyway, in brief (in case it doesn't post again) - thank you, you have helped my thinking. I am so conscious of how my IMing preteen friend's behaviour is different when she IMs with me (alongside her). She kind of comes even more alive. In particular I have noticed how she tells her story while IMing alongside me (filling in the necessary detail/ leaving out bits too I am sure!). My role positions me as naive - even if I am not. A methodology that embraces this complexity is what I am searching for!

This is a message for Anya in response to her comment to me regarding the paper that Guy alerted me to on her blog. Anya, I have tried to leave two comments - but they won't publish. Apologies if they suddenly all appear in multiple forms.

Now i-anya may not read this post - so if you bump into her somewhere, or are able to comment on her blog, please can you let her know for me?

Monday, November 07, 2005

True to my word...

Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915)
The Song of the Ungirt Runners

We swing ungirded hips,
And lightened are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.

The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
'Neath the big bare sky.

The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.

Now being of a pseudo-literary persuasion, I am pretty sure that this poem is not about running at all - but it is certainly a timely choice, being November and all that - and we shall read it literally for the purpose of today's (tonight's) post.

Here I am (all about me) with my lovely Brother-in-law, Tony. Poor Tony was supposed to run his first ever half marathon five weeks ago, but fell ill. So, being kind-hearted folks, me and the UC (whose spending is again out of control - he has bought a swedish axe and knife in the last seven days), invited Tony to stay with us in beautiful Devon and partake of a bit of the old off-road-running. Yesterday we 'competed' in a rather funny race that involved running exclusively up and down very steep hills in order to avoid the breeched banks of the River Teign. This was very hard indeed, and we came nearly last, but didn't care a bit.

Preparation and process
I thought hard about my approach to this race and the induction of brother Tony. "Talk" I thought, "that's what he will need to get him up and down these hills", so talk I did. I did bossy talk " Come on Tony", encouraging talk, "Well done Tony", devious talk " We are nearly at the top now Tony" and purely motivational talk " Remember all that training you have done Tony, it will pay off now we only have three more miles to go". Now, it strikes me that most people would be delighted to have this much attention while running up and down shaley, muddy and occasionally flooded tracks - but not Tony. At about seven miles, he had enough of my chat and spluttered that he was going to listen to the Scissor Sisters on his MP3 player.

So I ran off and beat him by four minutes. Hell hath no fury and all that! They don't call me chin-out Dowdall for nothing you know. Results are available here - but remember to scroll right to the end (nearly) to find the staggering times for me and Mr Tony Davies.

Post script
Mr Tony has decided that he wants to come running with us again. This is a tiny bit daunting because he is likely to thrash my pants next time.

Post post script
Check out the angle of my legs: now that's what they call a combination of yogic strength and flexibility and a flickr like awareness that they look better side on. Also the cellulite has been temporarily eaten by leeches and ticks. Check out the 'blush' on Tony's cheeks too. Hee hee.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Glamour model

We all know that the world of academia has its glamorous and not-so glamorous moments. Here am I, caught in a less glamorous one - the real me! and a quiz to check your powers of observation...

1. Whose walking sandals am I wearing?

2. Where is our office furniture from (range optional)?

3. What part of my spine am I most likely to deform if I continue to work in this position?

Any comments on your own working habits are welcome - particularly advice relating to posture, ergonomics and home office outfits. I am sporting White Stuff baggy joggers, Next pink fleece (as worn in most blog shots), Bridgedale hiking socks and outsize Merrel walking sandals. In my mouth, I am holding a short and sharpened hb pencil.

Actually, I have just noticed that I am sitting here blogging, looking at my blog picture in a strange gazey sort of way. hmmmmmm.