SAVE the BBC

My silence on Social Media about political issues is slowly coming to an end and I’m cranking up the volume. For some months now I’ve been getting tired of the barrage of topics that people are taking  issue with and then re-posting or adding their un educational response.

I say un educational as I mean a lot of people jump on the headline and don’t bother to read into the story. Take fox-hunting – the bill was to bring the English law in line with the Scottish while I’m not for fox-hunting the act that was to be discussed wasn’t not to start allowing dogs to tear foxes apart as many FB campaigners would have you believe with their cute fox picture. I have many foxes in my back garden and they are anything but cute looking.  Take the constant campaigns  with the NHS and education and other topics. Yes the NHS need saving but at what cost… Should it continue to pay for everything, it never use to and was never designed for that purpose (It was a right to free health care) hence why we now have different trusts offering different care and drugs. I personally see no harm in having GPs like Dentists where we contribute, our society is all about those who can afford should pay well why don’t we.

Anyway those are different debates for different days. The main topic is the BBC. There has been talk about the Government and the BBC. I’m not sure of the In’s and Outs and here I am jumping on the band wagon without all the facts, but if the BBC was to go or have to change to just educate then that would be wrong. What is even worse is the objection by people on the fact they have to pay the BBC £160 a year for services they claim they don’t use. Meanwhile they will pay Virgin or SKY £40 a month for half the content. I don’t mean  what is broadcast I mean the value of the quality.

People know I am a big Radio 4 fan and love the comedy, I also love BBC4 and its educational shows, BBC with the news, and BBC2 with it comedy and social look on life, Radio 2 for Music, Radio 3 for.. whatever Radio 3 does. Now all that for £160 a year, that’s a bargain but wait you can watch it again, listen to it again get a great News website which also acts as a good source to gather information and research and then their twitter pages that keeps you up to date well now this is getting even better value. But wait there is more… You mean they contribute to Chanel 4; but C4 is commercial it funds itself doesn’t it like ITV, but ITV receives money from the BBC and what is that for… Oh for regional news and so does region radio stations. So let’s get this correct. Apart from region BBC stations the BBC also contributes to the cost of commercial region radio station and news programs on TV.

Yes that £160 goes a long way, but in no way does it fund the entire BBC – in fact the BBC does have a commercial arm – So why don’t they use that to run it and not send people to court for failure to pay the licence fee.Well they use that £160 to make shows like Eastenders, Faulty Towers, Dr Who which they then sell and pump the money back in to make the News, Question Time. Lets not forget the BBC is our national Broadcaster. They have a responsibility to broadcast the subjects that the Nation should have a right to view. Like Politics, opening of Parliament, Horse Guard Parade. Which Commercial operation is going to show that – The BBC should own the rights to Nation interests like World Cup, Olympics, The Ashes, Queens Birthday, Remembrance Sunday – and with the many they do but thanks to the money stealing prick of an Australian who out bids the BBC the national Broadcaster looses the rights to broadcast events that as a nation we should have the right to watch.

I will admit. The BBC needs to tighten their belts, I wouldn’t say they need to stop with the glamour shows and leave those to Commercial Telly as after all the founding Father of the Beeb said it was to Educate, Inform and Entertain. Anyone who thinks the BBC is a rip off or should change then I challenge you to not watch it or use the website or Iplayer or not listen to the radio or watch Chanel 4 or even use super fast broadband as the BBC funds that as well, as well as Freeview.

Yes the BBC needs to change but let them decide how. For now the BBC is the best Broadcaster there is and I know when I went to New Zealand I missed it a lot. But thanks to the Internet I was able to catch up with the Radio and the news and most of NZ TV was basically the BBC. The BBC world wide over is known for it quality and the institution it is. How many other Broadcasters have that much weight behind them… Other famous networks are famous for other reason like Fox, CNN.  Yes there should be an argument that people don’t watch it Live so don’t pay but use the catch up services but again different argument. The point remains, the BBC is a national treasure and without it the UK media would be a very different kettle of fish and its a world I don’t want to live in or even contemplate. So next time you complain about the Beeb just take a look at the work it does and where the funding goes and you tell me you could live without or you’d be happy to say goodbye to much of its entertainment.

Down One Place at Number 2 (The Running Charts)

A Non-mover at #10 its the 5K a distance for anyone quick or slow.

Number 9 isn’t going anywhere its 10 Miles for when you want to let of steam but don’t have another 3 miles in the legs

Straight in at 8 its the 7 to 8 Miles – long enough to be tempo and not burn out, or useful if you want to extend that 10K if you have the energy or used as a long slow run with sections of speed.

Number 7 moves down five place partly because I’ve not done it for a while it’s the Marathon. A great distance and the training is the best bit.

Meaning number 6 has also slipped its the Half -or 13.1 miles, long enough to feel like you’ve ran and a distance you can keep the speed up.

So number five is Fartlek yet again not done this for a long time since I like to do it on a treadmill along with…

Non mover at number four Hill Sessions. Find a hill and run up and down, also great as you can mix up your routes with hills

Still clinging on at Number three where its been for 6 months is the 10K a distance that I can do at anytime at any speed – also my first major run.

Meaning number 2 has dropped from the top spot its Listening to Music. It somehow puts your mind of the task in question, but listen to the wrong tune and it throws your run out.

So back at number 1 is Just Running Yeah with no music or no set goal just a run and see where it takes you, add some hills if you wish, cut it short or extend it – but with no music allow your body to guide you.

Yes people last week I spoke about running with music again, this week I am still running with tunes, but todays run was so up and down with pace, what should have been enjoyable turned into a chore until I ripped out the headphones and just enjoyed the run for what it was.

The jury is still out on running with music as I feel that without it today the I’d have thrown in the towel after three miles. I am sure I will keep you informed.

Returning to my Roots.

This blog and let’s be honest has grown and travelled in several directions, a little like my running and that is where this blog was born. For some reason I felt that the internet needed another blog written by some one who wasn’t very good at writing telling the world about his exploits in the hope to one day cross a finish line in a 10K race allowing people a key hole look into the highs and lows of my 10K training and my discovery of running.

Well, to save you the hassle and bother of trawling through the archives I can confirm now that I did cross the finish line and my addiction to running was born. I carried on telling tales of my training, my injuries and of my running adventures and soon the blog snowballed into tales of work, dreams, walking and anything I felt there was to moan about.

Today I return to write about my running experiences. Its been almost a year since my last event and that happened to be in New Zealand. I have yet to get back into a full training session as work (What little there is) and my cycling has got in the way. Plus I have not felt I can enter… But now I am determined to train for a half and to get out there and start running regularly, however for some reason I have started to listen to music on my runs again and I feel this has been what was missing.

I always use to listen to music on runs, it would help me set my pace and some of my Personal Records have been thanks to my playlist, slow medium tempo songs to start me off which slowly build to faster dance or faster tempos – and using the same playlist for each race I would often race myself – I have to get to Stereophonic’s by mile 2 or I must have crossed the line before James comes on.

Now like most people I stopped listening to music because of the races I ran, many were on country roads or smaller events that were run on open roads as it wasn’t worth the cost or hassle to close roads so for safety headphones were banned. One of those very races was the Snowdon Marathon and so I started to train with no music to get use to it and you know what? I found I liked it. Didn’t at first, but I grew to enjoy it, being able to hear your surrounding and your body I found my running improved. I found I enjoyed running a lot more. I enjoyed races a lot more. I enjoyed not having that distraction of music and trying to fumble to skip a track or turn the volume up and off course hitting the accelerator because the beats were at 5 minute pacing.

But for some reason I decided the other night to slip on some headphones and listen to music on my 5K and while it was no quick run (one of my slowest as it was 25 minutes) it felt quick, the music distracted my mind from saying “you’re tired” “This hill is too steep” “Turn left it’ll take us home quicker” instead my head was telling me to turn right as they liked this one . So I tried it again today with a 10K and the same result. The music lifted me it carried me along.

While it was not super fast as I was still listening to my body in terms of pace, the music helped me to keep going and to zone off and be in the moment. Not sure how long it will last as when I ran with no music I felt in the moment but just recently running the same routes with the same scenery and not being able to push myself with times or distance as left me feeling deflated and adding music as some what for now   added a new sparkle into my running.

I’m still not 100% sold if I am a runner with or without music… But these last two runs have been very enjoyable with some musical accompaniment.

No News is Good News

No News is good News… Well I can tell you that it isn’t. What it is my friends is bloody annoying. No news often means a prolonged agonising wait to find out that you have failed or that maybe theres yet another sift to go through.

I’m sorry! Pardon! You’re lost? Oh… Right, I see… Maybe I should start from the beginning. Twenty Five days from today I would have been back on these shores for a year, a whole year since I came back from New Zealand – I should point out I was forced to return as my visa had expired and I didn’t want to risk deportation and ruin any chances of returning to that magical place I called home for a while. Never the less I landed in England with two objectives. The first was to get back to New Zealand and the way to do this was through a Bunac Visa, the second was to find a new career and get the god damn hell out of theatre.

Well the Bunac ship sailed and I wasn’t on it, the getting out of theatre is still very much work in progress but I think I may be there. I started applying for signalman roles with Network Rail and anyone in the railway will tell you recruitment like the trains take a long time, and the responses again like the trains are heavy delayed. After a year I have final landed a role (fingers crossed) This process for the role began 5 months ago (Along with other tests and assessments I’ve been invited to over 7 months)  and I still have not yet got the confirmation letter  although I was told by the line manager I was successful and he was sending relevant paper work to HR.

So as the saying goes, No News etc well, I can tell you handing in an application to have no news for two months and then an email to say its been moved on to the first test and then nothing for a moon cycle to be told you were successful but wait there’s another assessment and so it goes on starts to get you down. My good friend Kat has been there with the struggle and the process and when I got the call to say you’re in I think she may have been more relieved than I, partly as she won’t be receiving anymore ‘Whats happening’ ‘Why they not get in touch’ ‘My job profile status has changed, what you think it means’ messages, but also she understands what this means for me. However now I am back to waiting on HR… this time I know I have the job but need to receive the ‘Job Offer letter and pack’ and until I have that in my hand I am once again in limbo.

I’m like an animal, I can smell the blood of the kill I know it is close but it’s just out of reach. The exit from theatre is right in front of me yet I do not have the key to unlock it.  Believe me when I say posts on forums tell tales of people applying to putting on uniform taking over a year. So the wait is no way near over, the finish line is in sight… Just… it just happens to be obscured by several more obstacles, but as I look behind and see the ones I’ve already conquered the ones to come seem easy in comparison.

So now I move from checking my emails every day and job profile on the career site to waiting for the postman to bring that news, that Network Rail letter that contains my job offer and when it comes I’ll hold it high resembling Charlie and the Golden Ticket, for it will be my ticket out of a career I’ve fallen out of love with and onto something new and exciting with real career prospects.

So while No News is certainly not bad news, it is not good in any respect, just painful.

Going the Distance

So where has this come from…

Well the other week my mate and I embarked on a 100 mile ride, one of only two for me and for both of us the first for a considerable time out of the saddle. Around the 70-80 mile mark as our legs were on fire and our hearts were about to give up on the final hill a little thought popped into my head.

“If our fitness levels were that of Olympic or professional athletes then what discipline do you think you would do?”

What I meant by this is that if our fitness and ability were the top notch and were good enough to be representing Great Britain, as in it takes me and my mate 6 hours to do 100 miles, or riding on the flat at an average speed of 21 mph then in this scenario those times and speeds would be considered the doings of athletes, not just your average 30 somethings dressing in lycra putting the worlds to rights on a Sunday jolly. So basically if our times and speeds were the benchmark then what areas would we compete in. My mate is all about speed and trying like so many to get the KOM (King of the Mountain) on Strava for his segments on the ride home, for me its about distance. I love a quick 5K, but I prefer a nice long hours run.

Now by no means are my mate and I ever going to be considered professional athletes, I have dreamt of beating Mo Faharh in a race, but in this world I have created then the World Record for the 10,000 would be 39:56 something very close to my own PB. But in this world our times and ability are that of elites and we’re about to be called up to represent Team GB.

So what did we decided? Well for me its all about the distance, at 80 miles even tho I wanted to throw in the towel and just phone a taxi my body still had enough petrol in the tank to get me home, all I had to do was switch of my brain… Your body can do fantastic achievements and can survive and power through, your brain however wants to protect you and prevent damage or injury so starts to lecture you until you stop. through my three marathons and training for them, even my 10K’s where I went out way to fast in 25 degree heat I have learnt to push through and complete my goal.

So for me it would be endurance, long distance. I’m quick, but I’m talking quick for like 300-400 meters on the bike, and even with my running I prefer the longer routes, the longer races. I love the Half Marathon, its long enough to feel I have done something but yet I can run it quick enough to push myself. I love my long runs, 8, 10, 12 miles just running where my feet take me.

So if we did live in my world where slightly beer gutted men who ate pizza before and after a race were representing us in the Brazilian Olympics, then I’d be lining up for the Marathon start line hoping to take the WR of 3:22:34 while my mate will be in the team time trail on the bike.

A New Year and The Same Old Story

Well it is now the 10th or maybe the 15th of the first of the grand month of 2015, for some of you watching on Dave then it could quite possibly be the 2017. (UK Telly joke)

Once again I made a promise to myself to shift the weight and stop with the heavy drinking, and like a fool I picked the first month to start this off. Now its no secret that I have shed the pounds before but then its no lie that they have piled back on. I run and train for marathons and run some more, get injured rest a month or so out and bingo, I’m half a stone bigger. This is not to say that I am anywhere near the sight or weight I was when I first started my running addiction, no I’m just talking about that last bit of weight I can’t shift or get rid off and then to help matters I decide to go on a binge.

Well, I said to myself you are out of work so you might as well put that bike to good use and those trainers are still looking far to new. So I said to myself I will slowly bring myself up to the fitness I need. Now since December to now, I have placed a whole stone or 10kg on me. For my US friends that is around 14 pounds. (Get with the program and learn some other measurements) So come the day after boxing day I cut out the drink. Didn’t even have any on New Years and still have not. The chocolate and snacks were last to be cut out as they were still in the house sitting and waiting to be gobbled up. I eventually removed them by around the 4th.

So since then I have been keeping a food dairy and doing some running and cycling. Depending on the accuracy of my scales then I have already lost 2kg. Don’t feel or look thinner, but the high tech scales also says I have lost 5% of body fat.

So once agin its a new year and I have promised myself the same thing… I will train like a pro and I will look at what I eat. So far I have managed it,but for how long.

In truth I really do want to get down and start wearing smaller sizes. I don’t mid a little belly. I’m not on about looking like an Ironing Board, but I would like my hand to run down from my chest to my belly in a smooth straight line.

Oh well sure you’ll find out my progress at one point or the other.

Instagram – Self promotion

A really simple quick post here, but I like my pictures that I take and share to the world, and while I have a number of followers it still the wrong side of 100. Yes there is a little bit of me that does it for the attention to see how many likes I get and I find it weird that some only get 2, while others run into the 30’s. Sure the hashtags may be different, some times they are the same.

I’m a big fan of Instagram, love posting and love finding images of stuff I’m in to and new places to explore.

So if you like cooking, countryside, mountains, England, New Zealand, trains, buildings or dogs then have a look at my page and maybe follow or click the like button. Let me know what you think of the images.

Thanks in advance.
http://instagram.com/lddex/

To a promising 2015

The clock struck 12 and strangers embraced as the first dong echoed over the city and the sky was illuminated with colourful gunpowder. The New Year had begun no sooner had the last set of fireworks faded into the night sky along with the remaining  voices singing something resembling Auld Lang Syne, people turned to one another, complete strangers, friends and family and wished them a ‘Happy New Year’

Happy! Happy? how do they know, this is the start of yet another miserable life on earth , surly we should be saying Happy 2014 lets hope 2015 is just as good. Of course it could be and while I know some where in this complex organ we call ‘The Brain’ that wishing people ‘Happy New Year’ is in fact a way of saying hope it’s a good one, this after all is the first day so think of it has a new leaf or turning a page of a book. 2015 can be a new chapter and you’re the author so you can make sure it’s a good one.

That’s what it’s all about isn’t it, the idea that this year will be better than the last, and for me that could be possible. Come Monday I could have a visa for NZ again by the end of the month I might have a job, this could be the year that injury stays away so I reach my target of becoming slim Jim and with that echoes a new day. Whatever I decide to do today may shape the rest of the year, start as you mean to go on and all that. The fact is my leg is still feeling sorry for itself and I don’t want to risk agitating the injury even after 4 weeks of rest, but at the same time I want to get back to my running and cycling (Who wouldn’t?)

So will 2015 be a happy year, will it bring you all your dreams. Only you can write the chapter, sure other people will help. They will be your inspiration, but you’re the one with the pen, don’t let your friends or family become the ghost writers of your story. 1st January is the first page of 365 page book, so make it a good one.

So here’s to a promising  2015.

We’re getting reports… (A parody of rolling news)

Yes, For those who have just joined us we are getting some reports in that their may be some news. I’m joined by Michael Woods an expert in these matters who has kindly joined us in the studio from Glasgow.

Michael, Thank you for coming. Now what do you make of these reports about the fact that news maybe happening.

Well, first of all I would just like to say that these are unconfirmed reports.

Unconfirmed but still reports are coming in that there may be in deed some news.

Well we have known for some time that news could happen, and while we are getting separate stories we can’t pin down any one news item as you see…

Sorry Michael I’m going to have to interrupt, as we can now confirm that there is actually no news story happening, Lorna Kelly is on the scene now.

Yes, I’m here where there is no news happening, a couple of minutes ago, several cars had stopped for a red light but now that very traffic light which bought the morning rush hour to a stand still has since changed it mind and gone green allowing these commuters for now to go about their business. 

Well Mr Woods what do you think of that?

Well I think we can see that is a perfect example…

Sorry Mr Woods but we need to go back to Lorna. Lorna you seem to have some developments.

Yes, just as we thought it was fine the traffic once again was ordered to stop as the lights changed. Some people managed to scrape through on amber but only just. 

Well incredible scenes down there at the Flower Pot cross roads, we are hearing similar cases over the UK, but we need to add that they have as of yet not been confirmed. Andy Wilson is on the phone at one of these places somewhere outside Manchester. Andy what can you tell us.

Well as many people want to go about their daily business they… Hang on, its happening, yes I can clearly see that the crowds of people waiting on the pavement have now started to cross, causing the traffic to queue behind the red light… 

Andy how far does it go back?

At least 10 cars, its hard to say as the 142 is taking up at least two normal car spaces.

Andy, Thank you. stay on the line and keep us informed.

If you’re just joining us then you’re watching ‘Getting Reports’ where were getting reports of no news, while these reports are speculation we are seeing some hard evidence of no news in the studio. With me to talk discuss this is Michael Woods from Glasgow and we are now kindly joined by professor of media studies at Crewe college. First of all I would like to come to you David.

Well this is something we see again and again, the repeated camera angles and coverage from your reporters in the field is blocking any truth coming through. 

How can you say that David… The scenes in Manchester are terrible. Every couple of minutes it seems like the traffic is being forced to stop to allow pavement walkers to cross in front. 

These pavement walkers Andrew as you call them seem to be constantly portrayed as some kind of…

Sorry gentleman we need to break you off as the headlines this Monday Morning. Thousands of motorists are left stranded as traffic lights turn red, we’re getting some reports that in some cases, green men are being illuminated to allow ‘pavement walkers to cross’ Up and down the country people may be as up to 2 minutes late for work. I’m now joined in the studio by our economics and finance editor Martin Hulme. Martin, people being delayed as up to two minutes surly this is not something the British tax payer can afford.

Quite right Mary, we are barely out of recession and now this. Those two minutes could mean a net loss of four pounds to our economy and whats more many mean people loose their parking space. 

So what can be done?

One idea is to have a constant green light, or maybe not have any lights at all. It seems to work on country roads and motorways, this would enable people to turn up on time, and could in fact increase share prices and equal the exchange rate while having the interest rates stabilise. 

Martin surely this is something that the PM would like to see, so what is holding him back. To investigate this we have a report from our European political reporter Jane Brooks with the advent of the traffic lights and downfall of business.

Cut to Report

So its now 10:06 and you’re watching ‘Getting Reports’ The top story today. Millions are not moving as traffic lights turn to red, early reports suggest that £23,000,000,000 could be wiped of the UK economy causing a 4th recession. David Cameron as called M.Ps back to Parliament to discuss the escalating issue. In the studio I’m joined by Sally our traffic reporter but before that we have this report from Ben in Scotland.

Like a giant snake that is dead, the roads of Scotland are like frozen rivers, and then just as quick as spring the ice melts and the traffic moves, but like our wintery systems the rivers soon freeze as the lights once again change to red. This is Ben Harp in Scotland, Back to you Mary.

We are now joined by Ben on the phone. Ben their seem to be stories that the traffic is clearing up.

Yes Mary that does seem to be the case. The worse of this traffic did seem to be around 08:30 Glasgow Time, but by around 09:33 the line of cars were slightly smaller, but still enough of a number to see. 

Yes Ben, we are getting news that this seems to be the case all over the UK, were you able to count the traffic?

Mary all we could count was at least 10 maybe as low as 8, but as they stopped more joined. 

Ben in Scotland, Thank you. This is something we are seeing all over the country is it not Sally?

It is yes, I have been on this news story as it has unfolded and if you remember a similar thing happened on Friday and Thursday last week. Again around 08:20-08:45 Ramsbottom time seemed to be the worse, but by 09:23 to around 09:44 Barrow-in-furness local time the traffic was calming down. Now there is talk by some people that this is just a run of the mill traffic jam, the PM yet to make a statement of course until he knows all the facts, but the high periods could be linked to the school run with the calming being the effect of people starting work. Mary. 

Well as you say that our cameras are outside number 10 as we have speculation he is about to come out, we will try and stay with our camera there at number 10. For those joining us you are watching the door of number 10 as we wait for the PM to make a statement about the chaos that as seen many car driver forced to stop at red lights, we have seen scenes… and in fact we can bring you some of these shocking images now of people on the pavement who have been allowed to cross the road being signalled by early reports of a green man. Since we bought you this footage we can now confirm that in deed they were being signalled by a green man, but in new news when the traffic was  allowed to move, a red man stopped the pavement walker. Causing more speculation that another five pounds could be wiped of the stock market by tea time. We are gong to stay with this story all morning but now its time to go over to Ken with todays other news. Ken.

Thank you Mary. The palace has reported that at 05:32 the Queen died. 

Just a little sketch, after the rolling news of the virgin plane that I felt the BBC wanted to make into a story. Even when it did a test book landing and not the fireball of death they were hoping for they still carried on trying to report a non event.

Getting Back

Well, being back in England is jolly nice, no job or home and a strong desire to get back to New Zealand. Even all those friends that ignored me for a year and then suddenly emailed to say we should meet up as they’d love to hear about my adventures have once again disappeared off the radar. 

Now I don’t want to sound like a moaning miserable bitter old man but there are just somethings that a trip abroad will not change. So what is this all about? Well, in truth I don’t really know. Its… I suppose a little metaphor of my life at the moment. Being in New Zealand allowed me to think and examine my life and where I want to go. We all know, if you’ve been following the blog that I want out of theatre that much is clear, what is a little hazy is what I want to replace it with. 

Today I applied for an outdoor shop job, and a trainee Air Traffic control, both fit in to what I wish to do. One work outdoors and be an activity leader and the other have a well paid job with future prospects. 

The other side of me is trying to work back up to running a marathon, except my legs and hips seem to have differing thoughts on this as every run is growing harder along with what seems like a little injury in my hips. Maybe a tight hip flexor or something else. But what ever it is, running more than 5 miles is proving to be a pain. 

Either way I am not really committing to anything, running, job hunting or re-contacting my old connections in theatre. I’m also not really making a concerted effort to contact old friends I did without them for a year so a little longer isn’t going to hurt. I would like to point out here that I am contacting some, ones who remained connected and didn’t have a spell of radio silence while I was away. Yes I know how to hold a grudge. But if one more says they’d love to hear my adventures I might just say ‘You could have skyped or IM’d or Facebooked and got it in real time’ Like its not like I was in the Borneo rainforest with no modern methods of communication. But I can count the amount of people on my right hand who emailed, or FB a couple of times. 

So yes, back to civilian street, no more walking down to the beach with a mountain as a backdrop and clear blue skys watching ships and relaxing in the coolest littlest capital in the world. Oh no,  its getting back to my old life which for reasons known to me I’m trying to avoid. After all why go away for a life changing experience only to return and resume with your old life. 

So getting back to it, is something I think I will carry on avoiding.