Monday, 21 March 2011

An almighty thump belted out from the front door of something crashing on the floor! It had arrived, the magazine, not any magazine but THE magazine. The London Marathon Newsletter. That means it's a month to go before the big day. Am I ready? I hope so! I think so! I have a lot riding on my pink and white shirt. Tell you what though, I'd love a boost in sponsors! A fiver? Tenner? £26.20? have an ebay frenzy and sell some old tat! Please use the Virgin Money Giving Link to the right and please remember to tick the “Gift Aid” box squeezing 28% out of the government. (This will soon drop to %25!)
The last couple of weeks have been frantic. No change there then. Steamimh Away on Project 350, Training for my first marathon interrupted by the occasional night's sleep, a gig in sunny Bognor, good to see everyone there, and a trip to Glasgow and back.

Our mate "dave" with a new life size 200 seat jet. "Of cause you'll all fit in!
Breakthrough supporter and breast cancer survivor Palma McKeown had arranged a dinner and cabaret evening. I had once again opened my big pink mouth and said I'd pop up and compère the evening. No, I am not going to have a dig at Ryanair. They provide a good service and we did have very cheap flights. For Sarah and I it was £70.00 return all in, total, finish, that's yer lot, not each, TOTAL. But boy do you pay for it! Why oh why do people sit in an aisle seat when the two other seats are still free then grumble when surprise surprise they are asked to move so I can get in? Plonka! The brilliant TV comedy Fly With Me missed some tricks too. The speed speaking, high pitched voice and unrealistic technical terminology of the make up girls. “Oohh your skin looks dehydrated, you need PH 34567 YH 4 version 2c with hello Vera concealer! Only £456.57 with a free poodle” That's nuts. Dehydrated? Boots have bottles water for a quid next door and if Sarah was that worried about concealer she would have stayed in! Anyway, poor Sarah was taken in by this spell casting witch doctor and she spent the price of an average semi detached house in Barnsley on two tins of pink stuff and tube of yellow. I gave the poodle back, it bit me! The TV program also missed the opportunity of ripping in to the veritable parade of cabin crew marching up and down the aisle. First on the bill, and the only thing free on Ryanair, the magazine giver-outer (I nicked one just for the hell of it!) Then the smokeless cigarettes, then laminated menu with hideously over priced burgers that stink if the person behind you is munching on one, then the scratch cards, then the drinks, then the rubbish bag, then the perfume trolley, then the rubbish bag again (Supposedly because the perfume is bought in Turkey and is crap) Then train tickets to London and finally the rubbish bag again for uneaten burgers with one bite taken out of them (some with teeth in) followed by a staff member expert in the Heinrich Manoeuvre. . All it lacked was a clown on stilts, dog jumping through hoops and a fire eater called Smoky. Disney's tune “It's a Small World” blasting through the distorted intercom wouldn't have been out of place either. Still we arrived in Prestwick (Ryanair's Glasgow) to a fanfare and announcement that the flight was on time, in what seemed like only six hours and met up with Palma in arrivals. 
Would I fly Ryanair again? Yes. It is good value if you time it right and it's a right laugh!!!!!
A short drive later we were in the Avonbridge Hotel, Hamilton. Lovely! Time for a quick kip.

We met Palma's hubby,Tony, early in the evening and enjoyed a great meal at the hotel restaurant. Tony had arranged a rehearsal for the acts performing the next day and he had asked me if I would tap along on an electronic drum pad, one that a six year old would get as a fill in present at Christmas because the parents couldn't think of anything nice to buy besides rat poison!
Had a good time though and it was nice to meet up with the performers.

I had been talking about running all night and found out that Strathclyde Park was not too far from the hotel. Ideal for my run in the morning. To make sure I went and didn’t bottle out in the cold, Andy the bass player very “kindly” offered to pick me up in the morning. 09.00am Saturday I amble into the reception and Andy is there as bright as a button. Outside it's snowing! I just could not bottle this one! The jacuzzi was calling me, so was a far heavier breakfast than the "fitness" one I had sort of enjoyed an hour earlier.

We left and soon I was at the stunning Strathclyde park, or what I could see of it through the mist and now rain! I warmed up (well, snapped the icicles off of my nose) and set off on a 4km or so lap of the loch. It was freezing. Scottish runners should be really slow because they are made from concrete! There's me wrapped up for the Arctic and they are jogging round in tartan budgie smugglers and a summer hat! That's just the ladies. During the one and a bit laps that I covered to make up my full session, and I kid you not, I had, snow, hail, rain and sleet throughout. Scottish precipitation goes sideways, and hurts! Did you not know? I must contact scientist of the moment Prof Brian Cox and ask why! Unavoidable puddles were made up from the only water on this planet that can reach temperatures matching that of liquid Nitrogen. My feet would just about settle to the temperature then SPLASH a 
-250c refill. Joyous. Still, I made it round and Andy picked me up and delivered me back to the hotel shaking like one of those hairless Sphynx cats trapped in a fridge.

The room prepared or the event. Brilliant
The evening was brilliant. A fundraiser for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Four acts and then a “big band” made up of all the performers with me on the toy drums. Which, incidentally I did not break and sounded great. My task was to “run” the stage, compère the evening while telling people about Breakthrough, their work and achievements. £3,300 was raised via a raffle, tombola, silent auction and profit from the very nice meal. I could list names until the haggis comes home but in a few words, thanks to to everyone for supporting Palma and Breakthrough. It was fantastic meeting you all and I look forward to seeing you again some time.

The morning came all too quickly and after a very nice lunch with Palma and Tony we were back on a Blue and White Boeing 737/800 heading south watching the character parade again. The landing was horrendous. THUMP! I was gathering my thoughts while the captain was checking the mirrors for any bits of wing that may have dropped off, then, and this is no lie, over the speaker system someone announced, “We hope you enjoyed your flight with Ryanair and hope that you enjoy your week in Stansted!” WEEK IN STANSTED!!! Pins in my eyes first please.

Cliffe Bowls Club
Barking Mad!
Thank you very much to Cliffe Bowls Club £118.00! Top folk. Thank you to the customers from Longfield Fish Bar £48.00 (Apart from the twat heads who put dummy coins, washers and foreign coins in the pot. Not big, not clever and not funny. This is a charity that saves lives, not a failing comedy club!)

Voting has closed for Rochester People's Local Legend contest and thanks to your support we are in the final. The results will be announced on March 22nd. I am neck and neck with another gent at 20% of the vote. Should we get the top spot we will endeavour to make the most of the publicity to raise breast cancer awareness in Kent. Thank you.

Today (Monday 21st) I have some press to sort out including a call to a Scottish Newspaper! A little off patch me thinks but there was a journalist at the Hamilton event and she wants a natter.

I am looking forward to visiting Canterbury University on Tuesday to collect a cheque on behalf of Breakthrough. I have been given the fantastic opportunity to talk briefly to the students about the work Breakthrough does and how well their money is spent. Then it's straight up to London and the Breakthrough office to see Viv about presentations, how to plan my talks better without rattling on at a thousand miles an hour! (I am speedy keen......)

For Peeps in Medway, or not too far from Wainscott, there will be a coffee morning on Wednesday 23rd March at the Temple Mill Children's Centre, Cliffe Road, Strood, Rochester ME2 3NL. 10.00am until 12.00. Cakes, coffee and a chat. I will be there to say hi, tell you about the valuable work Breakthrough is doing, how your donations are being spent and other activities Breakthrough does in the fight against breast cancer. I will also be introducing folk to Project 350. A new local initiative aimed at raising awareness and funds locally for our battle against breast cancer.
Meanwhile any one in Kent who would like to find out more about Project 350, cannot make the coffee morning and fancies a very small but very worth while challenge, please email me.

On Friday I am on a visit to the research centre. Breakthrough have invited all the Breakthrough Marathon runners in for a look-see and I am looking forward to telling you all about it. Also I am looking forward to meeting some other runners and we can bore each other stupid talking about crappy knees, bruised bums and not enough time!

Couple of last bits. Sometimes something happens that knocks you sideways. In my last blog I mentioned meeting, albeit very briefly, Simon Weston at the Vodafone World of Difference launch. He sent me a tweet last week and I quote..... or rather copy and paste “All the best of luck with the London Marathon this year. I think you have more energy than me for doing that. Best of luck” I was gob-smacked! Thanks Simon the message meant the world to me.

Please remember, top trouper Anna Wallace has been nominated for Divine Woman 2011, please follow the link and vote for her. There are two Anna Wallaces, they are both the same lady, nominated twice, now there's well deserved popularity!

On a non-Breakthrough note, I am taking part in “Heartbeat” In Rayleigh Essex. This is a day of all things Drummy! I will be giving a drum clinic during the day. The timetable is to be 100% confirmed, but sometime during the the day I will be presenting my “Starting on Drums” master class. It is designed with beginners to intermediate players. All ages are welcome. Come along for a bash about. I will post more details next week.

I hate to end a blog like this but we lost “chat buddy” Lou to breast cancer this week. Another life taken to this terrible disease. Heart felt condolences to her fiance and young children. Scientists are making in-roads in this battle  but still need as much support as they can get. After all, it's why I am here in the first place.  Please dig deep and help me reach my target for Breakthrough and look forward to a “world without the fear of breast cancer.”
See you all next time.

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Please leave a comment. Keep it clean, I know I don't have the best legs in the world but the tummy is reducing!