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Mincing again!

Last year we had the Mince Pi, this year it's the Mince Pie.

Well actually, it's going to be both this year, and it was going to be both last year, but the atrocious weather put us off the trip to Peacehaven, and in retrospect it was the right decision. This year, though, the weather gods appear to be treating us a bit more kindly. Not that kindly, it has to be said, as it's pretty chilly and the coastal winds are strong.

But first a quick digression: Beckenham Place parkrun yesterday with Claire...

Get your Beachy Heads out, girls! Can I say that these days?

So the big question: am I going to participate again?

Yep, and having a lovely time! Just look at that grin!

Ah, don't we make a cute couple?

Back to mince pies:

Yep, we have mince pies!

I can't help feeling slightly nervous at this point, but I'm sure they're only taking precautions.

Amanda has a rather more efficient running-Santa outfit than the Princess Alice Hospice version!

"Line up here for the the identity parade! We will find out who stole the 'c' and 'u' from the "Pea ehaven Leis re Centre" sign!".

The race gets more scenic later, we gather. For now, just feast your eyes on the Rabbit container and think how many rabbits it must contain.

Less than two miles into the race and this guy has already pulled out a huge lead. Where's everyone else? Nowhere!

If you look very carefully, you can see a tiny red dot at the end of the road which is the next runner. And this is twenty seconds after the previous picture!

Let's skip the suburban bit and head for the fields. Deliberate arty lens flare or did I just choose the wrong position?

Tricky, because I also wanted this shot of the runners heading into the Downs, and I didn't have time to optimise both. We'll stick with 'arty', I think.

Is Anthony wearing all that clobber to protect him from the intense rays of the sun? No, sadly not. It's bloody cold and windy up here! I can at least keep warm from pushing hard on the bike, and while it may look like nice fairly flat grassland here, some of the route has definitely needed a bit of pushing hard on the bike, such has the hill I've just climbed to get here!

As is always the case with a race we've never done in a part of the world we don't know, I've pretty much had to guess at what points I can reach, and the plans are always tentative. So far this one has worked out, but it's early days yet.

They left the Downs again earlier, and I tried to get somewhere near the exit and failed. It may be fairly flat grass right here, but just off the track the grass becomes much longer and mixed with some kind of short but stiff bracken stalks which are absolute hell to ride on, almost like riding on sand when most of your effort seems to go into moving the ground, not moving yourself. I realised I'd better quit while I wasn't too far behind, so came back here, to where they re-enter at the six-mile mark.

And yes, that is the sea right behind them. The telephoto lens compresses the perspective, so it's not quite as close as it looks, but it's not far away. The sea breeze here is, well, 'bracing' might be the euphemistic term!

And another disappearing-into-the-distance pic.

Sorry lads, I'm not one of the SSP guys, I'm here for that woman behind you.

Back into beautiful bungalow land...

And the beautiful industrial estate again. Amanda has been passing one warehouse after another thinking, "The finish line must be past the next one!". When she finally sees me opposite another container seemingly plonked down at random, it's not a moment too soon.

And 1:28:50-something is actually not a bad time at all for this race!

I do notice that SSP don't have anybody taking finish line pictures. This surprises me slightly, as I was under the impression that the finish line is one of the most saleable shots, but maybe people just don't buy pictures of containers and warehouses even featuring themselves :-)

Inside the race HQ, there's a cake stall.

We are particularly taken by the Seaford Striders fairy cakes!

The goody bag contains a mixture of healthy and less healthy options...

I know, let's have some more arty lens flare!

And seeing as the sun is shining and we don't get too many days when that's true this time of year, we go looking for a place to have lunch and a short walk. And more or less by accident, we find this:

It's the Rottingdean Windmill, Grade II listed and open to visitors in the summer months. A board tells us much fascinating information about it, which normally I would pass on, but I'm afraid you're going to have to do your own research as I'm a bit short of time for writing this report.

Why's that? Well, now I have to sit in front of the fire with a glass of wine and have a nice evening with Amanda - a tough job, but somebody's got to do it - and tomorrow evening, some friends from work have invited me to go with them to a presentation on "Algebraic methods for specification and formal development of software". Yes, not only do I know people who think that sounds like fun, I'm one myself! Now you remember why you never ask me about my work...

Then after that, I really MUST get my tax return done. That's not my idea of fun, though: yes, I may be a bit odd, but there are still limits!

Ah well, next up, the Mince Pi.

Love to all,


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