18 April 2015

16 hours in London - More fun than a week in Athens

This is just for me - to help me remember and relive a day drip to London - which was SO MUCH BETTER than a week in Athens.  I feel a bit sorry for the Greeks - but only a bit.

If you leave at 06:22 - first train from Selly Oak you can be in London for 08:17 and at a cost of £11.  Bargain

Both trains were on time (service at Campden Food Company - incompetent - back to Costa for me in future).  Sat next to a nurse, from Sri Lanka, studying cardiology...
If things go to plan - I can be at Finsbury Park in time for parkrun
...and I made it with plenty of time to spare.  Note: the loos are still locked at 09:00 and there are 4 uphill sections - 21:01- phew!

That is an Anderson shelter - at Blighty Coffee - solely on the recommendation of the Fry Up Inspector (http://fryupsgoodornot.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/blighty-coffee-finsbury-park-london.html)

I was not disappointed... This is the (almost) Full Winston - no bloody mary in a tin mug for me - the liquor license does not come into effect until PM.

I'm not going to need to eat again until tomorrow
Blight Coffee - very nice, recommended but arrive early - it gets busy.

This is in Hampstead Heath - the joy of having an oyster mode for your debit card is you can just take trains and buses with no fuss and not worry about the cost - as, once you hit the travel card equivalent - the charge is capped.

This is the London County Summit... a bit level for a top but it was worth it for the views and to find out just how nice Hampstead is (I must have breakfast here some day)

Yes really - I am 10 minutes tube from central London

According to my GPS this is the summit

More nice houses in Hampstead Heath - fearful how much they are worth
Next - to visit the "country town of Middlesex" - well there never really was one - but at least one "County Hall" was in Clerkenwell

and here is the Middlesex Sessions House - currently looking a wee bit under used.

Walk through Smithfield Market

To the Old Bailey - which, at times, also functioned as a court for Middlesex

It is now the "Central Criminal Court" - you don't want to end up here.

I thought this was at Augusta National
St Pauls - that bloke is dressed exactly like me - even down to the red rucsac

Nearly there - this is Middlesex Guildhall - it now houses the Supreme Court (supreme in name only as we have that one over in the Hague to worry about)

Shaun Das Schaf nearly makes it to Horse-guards Parade

New Zealand House - its nearly time for the 100 years memorial for Gallipoli

At the Lyric pub -in Soho - I used their loo - so I thought I had better buy a pint - £6 but worth it - brewed a couple of miles away- by the Kernel - this is Export India Porter - 5.8%

...Crimea - still a troubled place 159 years later - somewhere I really wanted to visit but thanks to Mr P that won't be on the cards for many years.

@ the Haymarket to see...


Strange I know Lipman and Drefus but one of the supporting cast seemed familiar...  it was Ingrid Oliver aka Osgood from Doctor Who.  I most certainly did not spot "Jack Hawkins as Lyman Sanderson" - but then THE Jack Hawkins has been dead for 42 years...

And finally - a very peaceful (there was no traffic at all) walk to Brentford - the last place on my list of "Middlesex County Towns"

Bang Bang is one station short of Euston - and a favourite stopping place of mine
Great food and a food welcome - gets 3.5 on Tripadvisor

Even if it seems that the only actual Vietnamese on the premises is the Greeter/Maitre-D  I had the Com Thit Kho - scrummy

22:53:56 ...safely back at Selly Oak

16 April 2015

"Boys, you have a choice... Football or "... 40 years of orienteering later...

"Boys, you have a choice... Football or "... 

Did we do selfies in the 70s?

It was always going to be “or” for me. Worst sportsman in my school year, picked last for football, head stuck in book so I have no idea why I went along to the orienteering meeting. I remember us crowding into that lower school classroom and Chris Middleditch explaining how orienteering was so much not football.  Fine by me.

A week later year 3 (old style) were on Bluebird (the school bus) heading for Nettleford Wood. Guided round our courses by 'experienced' sixth formers – my group rapidly realised we had more idea what to do than our mentor and the race was on.  I can remember several of the control  sites and a wee bit of dissent over the best way to get to 'Q'.

I have the results – and there are two “Williams” that could be me. So on the night, aged 13 I took 46:10 (47. D Williams N Stubbs) or 55:10 (55. Ferguson, Williams, Davies). I don't know why we were not credited with a full score – because I know we found them all – perhaps my scrappy writing (we were looking for tin-cans-hanging-on-string and no punches)

Nettleford Wood 16th April 1975 - Results - more than a 100 runners
Over the following weeks we trained in Delamere Forest and competed once a week in the DEE Summer Evening Event Series - Frodham Hill, Petty Pool, Forest Camp, Little Budworth Common, Primrose Hill... leading up to our first Sunday Event (Lyn Crafnant in Snowdonia - the drive up being so steep the coach could not make it and we were shuttled by minibus) and then in the autumn to a Badge Event at Tockholes, Northern Junior Champs at Ennerdale and leading up to the 1975 British Junior Championships at Whitedown.  At this last Queens Park High School put out more M10 to M18 runners than the entire West Midlands managed at this years BOC.

The point being that there was a lot of orienteering going on, most of it on really good terrain and school was able to run and fill a bus most weeks of the term.  No chance but for many of us to get hooked.

April 16th 2015, 18:00 - 40 years later, give or take a few minutes

The woodland is currently wonderfully runnable – there having been time for the conifer stand I encountered 15 years ago to mature (The owner of the house by the start has been there since the mid 80's and remembers the clear felling about that time). 

The Original Nettleford Wood Map (click to zoom in)
I ran the course in 20:57 – which would have had me beating Ron Williams on the night (24:15). The basic map ("we do both colours - black... and white") remains very usable and most of the control features are still in existence – just a couple of pits that have gone missing which cost me a minute or two total.

A glorious hot, sunny, spring evening - a contrast to 40 years ago - cold, damp and drizzle -  global warming?  However Nettleford has escaped the curse-of-the-bramble and would be ideal for a sprint race.

The Future is Now: Live download to my phone - not possible at any price in 1975
How the original map might look in ISOM format.  Today there would be more vegetation boundaries shown, a wee bit of "slow run" and some pitted areas.

Many Worlds?

I wonder what might be different if I had not run at Nettleford Wood or run but found it to be a miserable experience?

Certainly I would not have run the 5-days in Sweden - which led to my lifelong fascination with the country, culture and especially its cars, nor my sister's keen interest in Swedish boys (married to 6' 4" blond orienteer from Lidköping since 1991)

Nor is it likely I would have competed for Team GB in two disciplines - foot orienteering (1982) and radio orienteering (since 2003) and it really doubtful I would have made the podium in any world championships doing anything (Radio Orienteering, Kazakhstan, 2014)

Orienteering has taken me all over the UK and the world and, injury permitting, gets me out every Sunday to do battle in the Midland bramble-fields.

My first control - "M" - though it was tin cans and write the code down in 1975

Number "M" - it was a score event.

Reenactment - the O-Suit is only ~35 years old (please note that it still fits).  Why did we have such big kangaroo-pouch pockets on the front of the top?  What were we meant to put in them? Lunch, space laces, cagoule, bivvy bag?

This was fight in 1975

Which control was this?

and this?

and this - easy one for the hard-of-navigation
View from the start

Just under 21 minutes for 3km.  No wrist computer nor satellite navigation in 1975 - nor dual SIM smartphone (carried in case of accident)
My track using Quick Route

M17 in Sweden for the 5-days

So that would be the silver medal in Kazakhstan then...