Saturday, 28 June 2014

parkrun #50

Matthew: runner of 50 parkruns !
I’ve written about “parkrun” before...but I have to just add a little post now, as our family celebrate our son Matt’s 50th parkrun.

Since he took up running, just 2 years ago, he has done far more than the 50 parkruns we were celebrating today...10Ks, half marathons, funruns, sponsored runs, and most recently, a triathalon. He has organised events for local schools/ churches/charities, he has raised funds for several different causes  and he has influenced so many friends and family members to improve their health and fitness levels by joining in. He has also joined the blogging world, and writes beautifully about combining running with family life. ( See his blog listed with those that I follow...." Run Daddy Run".)

Matt as he comes to the finish line. Rainy conditions probably meant not too many PBs this week !
He has been supported by his wife, Sarah-Jane, and the eldest of his 3 sons, Dexter. Sarah Jane and Dexter run in the 5k parkruns....and Matt and Sarah are now heavily involved with the setting up and development of Huddersfield’s junior parkrun events.

Sarah Jane with Flynn, as she helps organise last week's Junior parkrun.

Dexter, warming up for Junior parkrun
On a personal level, Matt supported me to be able to complete a couple of 5k parkruns last year, as I improved my fitness following my cancer treatment. I have sort of given up on running myself now......knowing I am fit again, and maintaining it by some much more serious walking ( much more sedate for someone of my great age ! ).

Dexter finishing his 2K last week, with Jess running alongside him, and the official high fiver waiting to greet him across the line.
Well done Dexter....Jess hugging Dexter after his run.
So, this post, is just to record how brilliant we think Matt is, and to congratulate him on his 50th parkrun.

 The weather wasn’t kind.....but to be honest, it doesn’t seem to make much difference.

The, it was in the rain...but no one cares!
 Every Saturday 600 plus people turn out to run the 5K, then on Sunday 160 under 14s turn up to do the now established 2K junior parkrun. So...well done to everyone who is involved with this....and special congratulations to our brilliant Matthew.

Its a whole family occasion.... Grandad Mark and Auntie Jess supporting runners and spectators alike.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Marble time again

Amazingly enough, I have just attended my 3rd marble fete in Caunes and watched my 3rd procession of the saints.

Marble on display outside the abbey.....under the watchful eye of what I suspect is another marble statue

The Saints being brought out of the church by the men who waited outside, chatting and smoking, while the women attended the hour long mass inside the church

Year 1: I was on my own as Mark was working in England ....and got all the timings wrong, I kept walking down to the village to find some event had just finished or was hours from starting.

Year 2: I was in the first weeks after chemo and radiotherapy, and remember venturing out for a short walk among the exhibits before sitting in the bar and drinking coffee with friends...which was really all I was up to at that stage.

Year 3:  Well, this year we felt so experienced..... real old hands at marble festivals.

Local produce stands everywhere
For a start we knew not to expect the village meal to begin on time......we still arrived too early, but not as early as in previous years.

We wandered through the Caunes streets, catching some interesting exhibits......some we had seen before.....last year and the year before.

Saw the Rosie the Riveter figure here last year....might have to buy her next year if she makes another appearance

I loved this....not marble of course....wood.

ok...  another one that wasn't marble...
Metal and something else...not sure what.
There were also the usual dancers and musicians

What is she thinking ?

The weather has been glorious for a couple of weeks now, in fact it was too hot for me last week. It has cooled a little now, and I have been enjoying watching the vegetables grow...almost visibly, as the sun ( and twice daily watering ! ) does its magic. Mark has been on a couple of bike rides, I've been walking, and visiting vide greniers and we've both been swimming.

I managed to avoid buying this at a vide grenier
Now, we're wondering where the last 2 months have gone, as we head back to Yorkshire tomorrow for hospital visits, dentist appointments, hairdressers appointments and a couple of golf tournaments Mark wants to play, the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival......and most importantly,  Le Grand Depart of le Tour in Yorkshire.

 I'm particularly looking forward to Hebden Bridge's street party on 5 July... called "Le Grand deParty". 

We'll be Back in Caunes in just  a couple of weeks....certainly in time to catch the rest of Le Tour as it winds its way around France, with another depart to be seen, in Carcassonne on the 21stJuly.

But at this very minute... we're looking forward to seeing all the children and grandchildren.....particularly catching up with the "parkrun" adventures that they are all involved with these days.
Dexter, in the middle in the pale blue top, warming up for a junior parkrun event.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A Spanish Adventure

Balconies in Figueras.........I have no idea why  !
Last year I spent a week in Spain, travelling from Caunes, down past Barcelona, to Benicassim to see Bibi and her family, and then much further south, to spend some time with Annie in Alcala. I am hoping that I can catch up with both of them in the near future….but unfortunately, this Spanish adventure, which really was only “ an overnighter” did not involve them.

It came about as 2 friends, here in the Minervois, Jane & Steve, had to make a trip into Spain to check out the availability of some tiles they needed for a building project. They asked us if we would like to join them on an overnight trip to Figueras….and we really liked the idea.
We had stopped for a coffee in Figueras last year and loved the look of the town. It has a ramblas running through the centre, and there are some beautiful buildings on either side of it.
Our coffee stop last year made us know we would like to return, but obviously, we had only seen a very small part of the town.

Our brilliant little hotel
It is not far across the border from France, and took us about 2 hours to reach. Jane had organised a hotel…actually on the ramblas, and we arrived in plenty of time for a wander around before lunch, and then we checked into the hotel. Apart from the scary underground parking ( not creepy scary, but full of low ceilings and tight corners that made manouvering a little difficult……so glad I wasn’t driving ), it was a brilliant hotel, overlooking a square at the foot of the ramblas. We had a great view of a Salvador Dali mirrored installation, as well as of the ramblas itself.

Dali Mirror feature

View from hotel balcony.....of the  Dali Mirror feature

Columns covered in knitting..... I know a few bloggers who will like this one !

Knitted covers for trees too.

It was the idea of being able to visit the Dali museum in the town that appealed to Mark and I. So, after lunch, S & J went off on their tile search and Mark and I went to the Dali Museum.

As we had expected, it was visually stunning, and as we had expected, there were lots of the unexpected too. I’m sure we could have spent hours looking at everything, but it was so visually astounding, it seemed better to look at a few things carefully and just try to absorb some of the rest.

We also found a  museum exhibiting a fabulous collection of photographs of older Figueras residents who had been present when Figueras was bombed during the civil war. ( It was one of the most bombed and damaged towns in the Catalan area during the Spanish Civil war, and had been a stopping off point for refugees fleeing Franco at the end of the 1930s). Each person was photographed holding something that made them recall those days. They had of course been children then, and some of them displayed photos with siblings , or toys, or even their parents. They were haunting and fascinating.

A great tapas meal, a few glasses of rioja, lots of talking and a very short walk back to the hotel, because of its brilliant central position, made for a lovely evening.

Steve & Jane  had found their tiles, and after a breakfast of coffee and croissant overlooking an early morning market, we set off, back to France.

Jane buying mangoes
Our route, rather than the quick 2 hour  journey the day before, took us along the coast…..and was spectacular. So much so, that there were a few cliff edge views that I failed to appreciate as I had my eyes closed……and my fingers crossed !

We went to Cadaques and wandered around the beautiful bay, after sitting in a beach side café.

 We then headed north and past some incredible scenery, terraces cut into impossibly steep hillsides, lined with olive groves and outrageously large desert like cacti and succulents. We stopped again at Llanca, this time to sit by the beach and eat sandwiches and ice cream …well, to be honest, it was the men that ate the ice cream.

Working out where we were and where we'd been
One more stop at a view point, close to the French border….and then we headed back into the land where we understood all the road signs.

 Steve did most of the driving, which was tough…..steep, and narrow winding mountain roads, which required constant concentration. It was great for Mark and I, just enjoying the views. It was really good of Steve & Jane to take this route back, they’ve done it before, but they were kind enough to want to show it to us.

The trip was great….an unexpected treat, arranged at short notice, fabulous weather, beautiful places experienced and excellent company.