Wednesday, 28 September 2011


I don't know if this is bizarre or not, but, one of the ways in which Cambridge has not moved on at all since 1463 is that we have cows in the city centre. Lots of cows. Hanging out. Doing their bovine stuff.
We turn our bottoms towards women waving cameras. Vamoose
These cows are near one of the main roads into the centre. There are also cows in the colleges (this is bizarre, isn't it?) and also near the river which runs through the centre, on the fen. The cows on the fen stand on the bridges and face down tourists. They are cows without shame. When people have picnics in the summer, sometimes the cows sidle up and intimidate them and nibble their sandwiches.

I was buying some beef from the farmers' market once, and as I passed it to the woman who was running the stall to pay for it, she said, brightly, this beef comes from the Cambridge Cows! I winced because I do not really like to think where my meat comes from especially if it is a cow who might have faced me down on a bridge, and she looked at me firmly and said, now look. These cows have had a very lovely life.

This is the dilemma, isn't it? The more you don't know where your meat comes from the more likely it is to have come from somewhere absolutely appalling, but then it's difficult to eat a cow who you might have met out and about. I won't do my lecture on How Capitalism Separated Us From The Means Of Production And Destroyed Society (although, what a lecture that is!) but I think if I'm going to eat meat I should eat meat whose origin I know and trust, not pretend it started off in a neutral polythene tray and ignore how it was really produced (I know there's the option of not eating meat at all. Not at the moment. Perhaps later).

Monday, 26 September 2011

Cigarettes and alcohol. Without the cigarettes. With some hawthorn

Do you know what happened to me over the weekend? I discovered I was allergic to alpaca. Anyway, we will briefly acknowledge my pain (group hug) and move on (what the hell am I going to do with the alpaca laceweight? Lucky I kept that Ventolin!). So, today I have been foraging.
Nice weather for foraging and competing with Squirrels
Yes! Inspired by the herbal hedgerow walk, I have been looking for hawthorn berries and rosehips, to make hawthorn tincture and rosehip syrup. I also had some blackberries hanging about, from the veg box and our garden, and thought I would make blackberry vodka with these, because, Nigella and me, we’re very similar, you know, apart from her house might be be the tiniest bit posher (joke).
I'm really almost positive this is hawthorn
Foraging makes me slightly nervous. I’m always worried I might pick something that is actually Deadly Nightshade masquerading as something harmless. Also, I always think someone is going to come and tell me off for fiddling about with trees and I will find myself in front of a magistrate trying to explain myself incoherently (‘OK look. I’m a hedgewitch, right, and I went on this walk, right, and they said if I picked hawthorn it would root me and protect my heart and I’ve been working on opening up my heart chakra recently and I thought…’). I think there’s something deep within me that thinks something is only really permissable food if it’s wrapped in plastic and sold in Waitrose. I think there are a lot of people who think this, because whenever I go into Cambridge there are lots of people in M&S buying fruit for twice the price of the market stalls less than 5m away, indeed, I do it myself when I am being undynamic. When I am being dynamic though, obviously, I go rooting round trees with a bag being intrepid.
Hawthorn tincture, candlestick, blackberry vodka, leftover garlic, plum and apple chutney and a bit of cardboard used to catch a big spider
Anyway, this is how I made the blackberry vodka. I used about 350g blackberries, and half the weight of sugar, and put them both in a big Kilner jar, then covered with a 70cl bottle of vodka. I made the hawthorn tincture just by covering hawthorn berries in brandy, but, I could not submerge all the berries because they float, so I am worried that might cause problems. We will see. I’ve not made the rosehip syrup yet and it sounds scary as it involves straining through muslin (or tights, depending on your level of domestic goddess-ness. I will not be able to palm my rosehip syrup off on people now as they will be thinking worrying thoughts about gussets. I bet Nigella doesn’t go straining syrup through her gusset, do you? Remember though: it’s only slutty if you wear them afterwards without rinsing them first).

I’ve got a book recommendation. In one of my previous posts, Vivianne recommended James Wong’s Grow Your Own Drugs, and I suddenly remembered I had actually got it – I bought it ages ago when it was hugely reduced and then I buried it under a pile of books. Well, I dug it out and it is great, so thanks Vivianne for reminding me, and it is a good book for those of you who may have leanings in this direction. Also, I seem to remember Mumma Troll actually went to one of his talks once and really enjoyed it, so, yes, James Wong. Look, it said in the Guardian today that it’s the end of capitalism, and you’ll need to know this sort of thing soon, you know. So when the post-oil society arrives, you all stick with me. I know how to make soap and knit socks, and Partner says if he put his mind to it he’s convinced he could kill a chicken (not one of yours, though Aunty Kath!).

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I need you to be specially nonjudgmental

So I can show you my City Stole blocking without feeling bad about all the crap I had to push to one side to make room on the floor (it’s alright, it’s just the overlocker, wool-in-progress, pins and a random elasticated belt from Top Shop. No-one has to ring Hoarders. You’re not going to see me ever on Discovery Home and Health clutching onto a 10-year-old yoghurt pot while all my family stands round wringing their hands). Otherwise I have to get the laptop out and fire up Gimp and crop and it puts me off.
I had to stand on a chair and balance against the ironing board to get this photo. I straightened the edges a bit afterwards
Anyway, vital stats because EVERYONE SHOULD MAKE A CITY STOLE:

Here is the pattern – you have to pay, but it is definitely worth it, it is a lovely pattern (12 pages of charts and they are very clear. I found about 2 tiny errata, unfortunately I forgot to note them down but they won’t cause you any trouble – there was one missed yarn over when it is obvious there should be one so you would realise, and one of the stitch count numbers was one out but the chart is correct),
I used KnitPicks Gloss Fingering from Great British Yarns because I wanted something cheap, navy blue and in fingering weight (sock yarn weight). Well, it was certainly cheap and navy and is OK yarn, but, that is never sock yarn weight. Sock yarn my arse, as Jim Royle would say. It felt more like DK to me (I did check the label). I went through agonies thinking the stole would not work because of it, but it seems to be blocking alright, and I can always knit another in proper thin sock yarn at a later date,
Mistakes – I made a couple of tiny errors in the chart but tant pis only God is perfect. Also, I think it is going to curl a bit as it is a stocking stitch base, but the blocking should flatten it a bit, and honestly, I don’t mind that much – I think it’s the nature of a stole like this (I can’t see how she could have got this effect apart from on a stocking stitch base, and it does have a garter border).
Bonus Cambridge cat photo, looking pointedly in different directions like an 80s album cover
So there we are – this stole was such an epic that I feel like my life’s work is now done, and I am a little rootless. I will try and get better in-action pics when it is blocked (also of the Annis – I was worried the Annis would spring right back when I took it off the pins but it held its shape completely – it looks great). In the meantime I am making chutney,
I never want to chop up another apple, I really don't
And I am casting on for some new colourwork mittens which I may give to my brother Dan for Christmas, and working up to winding the wool for Jaali. Wish me luck…

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Blocked my Annis

This is one of those posts that's more interesting for me than for you, lovely readers, sorry! I blocked my Annis - managed to not felt it, not drop it down the plughole (I'm going to hold off on the rant about how much I hate our new plughole), not drop a stitch as I bound off, etc etc and now it is done! And when it is dry I can wear it!
OK, are you going to say to me that you don't save your oldest towels for blocking?

I do appreciate this would look more attractive with better light. Try to imagine
Ha ha! First proper lace, first nupps {brushes fingers on lapel}. The lace world is now my oyster and I shall celebrate with Cake.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

WIP Wednesday: Making Stuff For Paris

Can it be Wednesday? Can I be sitting here with a spare five minutes and photographs? Could I be about to do a WIP Wednesday post?

Mum and I are going to Paris in three weeks (bear with me). We have our train tickets but we have not booked a hotel yet, it may be the George Cinq, it may be the Three Ducks, we will see how flush we are when we get to the point of booking. I have to tell you at this juncture that Partner doubts my and my mother’s joint capacity to economise on accommodation. If I have to hear again his tales about how he went to Paris when he was very poor (he was transcribing a manuscript) and had to stay in the red light district and only eat every other day, I may not be responsible for my actions.

Partner: And I had to stay just off the Rue St Denis! I was propositioned continually! And I could only eat every other day! You tell your mother that!
Me: Did you buy wine every night though?
Partner: Yes!

Anyway, in preparation for the trip, mum has been on an Epic Quest to find the perfect pair of shoes for Paris. They had to be comfortable, coruscatingly directional, and cause Parisiennes to stop dans la rue, throw up their hands and say, mais Madame, comme vous ĂȘtes plus chic que votre fille ou est-elle votre soeur. They had to also cost less than £40, preferably from Clinkards. Oh, the tension, you would not believe, every time the phone has rung we have jumped to answer it in case it was The Call. And, last night, the quest came to an end and my mother managed to purchase appropriate shoes UNDER BUDGET in Meadowhall, hooray, that will buy us both a Kir Royale. However, my quest continues. For, I am trying to finish the City Stole, block it, and take it with me.
Repeat after me, it will look better when it's blocked
I am starting to feel the City Stole will never be finished. I feel like the charts expand as I get close to the end. And now I have sat on my needle and broken it and must wait for a new one to arrive from Get Knitted, will it come in time, oh the tension. There is a lot of knitting in this thing and I think it may have been a little ambitious trying to do it on a deadline, but, apart from that, I absolutely love the pattern. I think it is one of my favourite things to have knitted ever, and I recommend it without hesitation to anyone wanting to start lace, because, it is very easy to read your knitting and correct things if they go wrong. I actually feel, serious face, that I have learned and improved as a knitter while knitting this, and it has made me very happy. Anyway it is on hold at the moment until my needle arrives so I will update you with progress and hopefully action shots of it on me in Paris.
Repeat after me, this one will definitely look better when it's blocked
While I wait, I have almost finished my Annis. Well, the laceweight was a bit of a learning curve, but once I had accepted I had got to use 5 million stitch markers, it was straightforward and it is now nearly finished. The nupps were fine, you just have to have a reasonably pointy needle and do your yarnovers quite loose. I am excited to block it and see what it looks like then.
It seems all wrong to me that you can get a luxury lace shawl for under £10 which is less than a not-luxury takeaway. I do not complain though
And the moment you’ve been waiting for, did Susie get beige in her Posh Yarn order, is she going to have to swap it/ dye it/ cry. No! I got a lovely dove grey semisolid with (subtle) purple bits and a very pretty blue, it does mean I’m going to have a bit of a blue theme going, but, I’m kind of into blue at the moment so I’m happy. I actually really like how this yarn feels and I’m looking forward to knitting it, but I am leaving it be for the moment until I have finished my City Stole.

Right, {cracks knuckles}. Off to cast off Annis. Off to fill my Victoria Sponge first, though (that isn’t a euphemism). You need lots of sugar when laceweight is involved. That’s what all the books say. Honestly. However, for lots of other works in progress, most of which are depressingly better than mine (I mean, I do try to be generous-spirited, but…), go and have a look at Tami’s blog. Thanks, Tami!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Forgive me, Father/ Universe/ Insert Patriarchal Punishing Deity of Your Choice Here, for I have sinned.

You know I am on a budget. You know I am trying not to buy anything at all.

You know I am especially trying not to buy wool online given that we have the very lively postman who squashes my packages and shouts up our stairs ‘are you buying wool again? You’ve got enough wool!’ even though this opinion is based on the fact that I bought all that Stylecraft Special DK, and not only was it very, very cheap, but I have crocheted it all up into a blanket. And that sack of Ethical Twist from Kemps honestly cost practically nothing, and besides, you in your All Seeing-ness know that I split it with Mum.

You know, Father, that it is of no use my explaining that to the postman. Indeed, I think you and I might agree that it would make things worse.

Not only am I trying not to buy wool online, Father, but you who are omniscient know how I feel about certain aspects of knitting culture. I mean, I get that the first use of omniscience isn’t necessarily to be monitoring my thoughts on acrylic, but I believe there might have been something somewhere about every hair being numbered. You know I am a miserably utlilitarian Product Knitter. You know how I like things that are Rugged and Useful. You know my idea of hell is going on a ridiculous internet quest to get the type of wool which is so popular you can only get it by selling your soul to the chap we don’t talk about (sorry he got such a good write up in Paradise Lost, by the way. It seems Evil is just that tiny bit more glamorous. Who knew?).

And yet, Father, given all these variables which would in normal circumstances have led to my next yarn purchase being a small ball of cheap craft cotton for a single dishcloth some time in 2015, I find myself waiting for the arrival of two skeins of laceweight yarn purchased from the Posh Yarn Orphaned Skeins sale yesterday at 7pm.

I do not think, Father, that the fact that I only procured these skeins by having the internet-shopping skills of a seasoned pro, and a paypal trigger finger which would have devastated the Wild West, tips my moral balance. Nor do I think that, although I believe you might want to encourage people generally to have Hope, my apparent expectation of being able to produce, block, and wear successfully not one laceweight shawl, but two, is in any way admirable. Father, I think it is misguided. In fact, Father, I blame the hawthorn tincture and I feel this should be a lesson to others about Temperance.

I know you are annoyed with me, Father, for I sat on a knitting needle earlier and I snapped it in half and must now buy another. I know that was a Sign. Therefore I will do penance. I will not complain about things. I will clean the house and not just move things about. I will make offerings on ebay, bids starting at 99p, non smoking home and will combine postage.

And in return, Father, given that these are orphaned bargain skeins and therefore I could not choose the colour, please influence the nice lady at Posh Yarn, work on her inner being, and try to make sure she does not send me beige.

Yours in sad self-awareness,

Susie (look, I don't know how to end prayers. I'm a pagan. I'll go and light a candle and try and access the inner realms or something).

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Season of mists, mellow fruitfulness, and me on a Herbalism Walk

I am contemplating a Giant Autumn Chutney Production Session. My last Giant Autumn Chutney Production Session was the year before last and took a week. It only ended when the smell of vinegar finally broke Partner and he begged me to stop (big wussy). I ended up with a mountain of chutney and gave it to people for Christmas, I thought we would be eating chutney until 2015, but actually it was quite delicious, so the jars we kept got eaten very quickly. Also it is quite cheap to do if your mother has been saving jam jars for you (as has mine) and if you get all your plums/ apples either from the market or from people with trees. Hmm. I feel a preserving session coming on, off to dig out my recipes. (In case you feel one coming on too, FYI you don’t need a brain to make chutney, it isn’t like marmalade where you have to test for a setting point, so you can put it on and wander off). In the meantime, and on the subject of Using Autumn Plants, this morning I dragged myself out of bed and went on a hedgerow herbalism walk with Of People And Plants in Milton Country Park.
Making good use of the things that we find (elderberries), things that the everyday folks leave behind, la la wombling free
And do you know, I had a really good time. Latterly I have become better at dealing with the whole plant issue, i.e. I can recognise some of them (well, you know, I can tell a daffodil from a cactus) and I am starting to have some kind of a vague awareness of seasonality, but my knowledge is tiny and I am always happy to expand it. So this was a walk where we had a bit of a nose round Milton Country Park to see what was around and what its properties might be.

We found burdock (I didn’t even think burdock was a real plant!), comfrey, hawthorn, birch, elderberries, rosehips, and something else I have forgotten the name of which I was not to eat despite it looking rather attractive. Vanessa and Jude who were running the walk had brought tinctures and syrups and teas, made up from plants they had picked, for us to try. I stood sniffing my hawthorn tincture thoughtfully until she told us it would re-balance our emotions and protect our hearts, and readers, last week was a bit of a week, so I snarfed it straight down. I cannot tell you if it has helped, because there was a lot of brandy in it, and that certainly did. So much so that I had to refuse further tinctures as I cannot drink in the morning due to being a big girl’s blouse and a lightweight. I did, however, have some elderberry syrup,
It even looks good for you, doesn't it?
And it was really delicious. Unfortunately I think elderberries are on their way out now, but I took home with me a recipe for how to make it and next year I will be ready to pounce. What an amazing tree the elderflower is, isn’t it? Elderflower cordial, elderflower champagne, elderflower fritters, and now elderberry cordial. Apparently it is excellent for colds and as a general winter tonic, as is rosehip syrup.

Making tinctures seems to be very easy: you cover your plant with brandy, leave it for ages, and shake it occasionally, just like sloe gin. Another walk-goer and I were talking about sloe gin, and she told me about a place in Cambridge called Wandlebury which has lots of whatever tree it is that sloes grow on, so I am going to go and have a look. I am encouraged that I could remember the name Wandlebury because this was post-tincture.
This is a willow, which is apparently the best kind of tree to hug if you are feeling a bit depressed. Or - have a tincture!
Anyway, if you are around in Cambridge there is another walk sometime in the winter and they are really interesting so it’s worth going. I am going to have a look now into making tinctures and syrups and things because I like the idea of having a cupboard filled with scary-looking bottles and whipping them out whenever a pick-me-up is needed, while my loved ones cry, no! Please let me just have an aspirin!

On a different subject altogether, dangerously buoyed by my ability to a/ attend regular yoga classes and be able to execute down dog without falling on my nose b/ fit into my thin jeans again HA!, I thought I might have a go at an exercise class (bonus knitting reference around 3.35). In fact I thought I might give Zumba a try tomorrow. I’m really unco-ordinated and I don’t do lycra. This is either a brave new move or me setting myself up for the worst evening of my life so if you think it isn’t a good idea, please could you stop me in time!

(Since I linked a Victoria Wood scene, obligatory Let's Do It! link. Do you know what I thought while I was listening? I thought, I wish I had a vinyl flooring catalogue. Seriously, I did. I need a few more tinctures, I do).

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Failure to display WIPs so showing you my nails instead

I was going to do a WIP Wednesday post today but I didn't get it together to take photographs. So, here's a quick summary:

City Stole - 3/4 done, coming on great but do not like the yarn I am using
Annis - done 8 rows, working up energy to do nupps (when I have done nupps the rest is easy garter stitch short rows)
Boring Socks in Noro Kureyon Sock - nearly done 1 sock, the yarn is very strange, it has interesting colours but appears to have been spun by a monkey out of especially rough sheep
Sewing - am contemplating making an asymmetric jacket from the latest Burda magazine

And that is all, and if you would like to see proper photos from competent people please do go and explore the links on Tami's blog. Now I will show you my nails.

No one look at my cuticles. You don't get to look polished in two days, you know 
They are a deep forest green although it looked more of a teal in the little pot so that is what I thought I was getting. Anyway, I have painted them, and hopefully have left enough time for them to dry before I have to take the bin round. This is the problem: real life interferes with Glamour. In an unprecedented move, I have also bought a lipstick. I do not dare show you the colour because I suspect you will tell me it is unwearable and I must not leave the house wearing it {cough} orange {cough}. Anyway I shall go now and slip on a negligee and some high-heeled fluffy mules and lie on the sofa eating grapes. Not that we have any grapes. Or a negligee. OK, I shall go and put my Primark tracky bottoms on and go and eat a baked potato.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Did somebody tell her, you can really be redeemed

I think I’m bored now of being quite as low maintenance (aesthetically) as I have been recently (my mother will be perking up at this and will be thinking, hooray, perhaps Susie will at last get rid of those brown corduroy trousers). So I thought I would paint my nails. I dig about in the random-things-drawer, this is what I find:
I am not feeling inspired
Where have all my nail polishes gone? Why have I only got left yellow, blue which I am bored of, an imitation of Rouge Noir which has dried up, coral which does not suit me and a small bottle of grey which came free with a magazine? You know how this happened. When I left the Job Of Doom ages and ages ago I subconsciously donned sackcloth and ashes, and either threw away or Ebayed anything frivolous or that possibly might make me look attractive, let us not analyse that one too rigorously. Well here I am now, sitting about in a shirt that is 10 years old* and no choice of nail polish colours. That wasn’t very empowering, was it? Well, luckily, I find myself in possession of a £5 Boots No. 7 voucher and I know that Boots No. 7 nail polish is £7, so for the relatively small outlay of £2 I could have fresh new nails, and I am walking through town tomorrow so I can pick some up. What colour shall I buy?

*Boden. I think this shirt is indestructible. I may send it to them to use in their promotional literature.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Failure to communicate

Partner has been watching my struggles with Annis sympathetically (it is going better now I have accepted I have got to use stitch markers. But I do not like using laceweight and I will not pretend).
...and now I see why top-down shawls are popular
He has suggested that if it is too difficult I 'could always go back to knitting, because you like that'. I wonder what he thinks it is I am doing? I think he has divided fibre arts into categories in his head in a way other people would not recognise. It is like the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis as applied to crafts. I shall not analyse too deeply though because at least he is supportive (in a sarcastic kind of way), and enjoys going in wool shops and giving his opinion on the merchandise. I don't know if that should be encouraged or not.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Everything you ever wanted to know about running but were afraid to ask

When I was at school we sometimes used to do cross country running. This involved waiting until it was the most inappropriate and miserable weather, either freezing cold and raining and everywhere covered with mud or boiling hot, and then everyone getting dressed up in our navy knickers to stumble round the bottom of the sports field, fending off flashers. I used to manage to run a hundred metres with the gym teacher hollering at me (from the relative comfort of the sports block I might add) before I gave up and walked. I cannot think, looking back, of anything that would put you off running more effectively. I mean, I suppose the flashers made us speed up a bit, but, generally it didn’t work as a programme. I wonder why they wanted to put us off exercise? I don’t remember anyone trying to teach me maths by, for example, hitting me on the head with a hammer. Then a while ago in the Guardian I read an article by a man who had apparently gone from nothing to being able to run 5K in a fortnight. I suspect that man also tells people his penis is 12” long because this is complete nonsense and there is no wonder those of us who are not athletic are put off, what with navy knickers, flashers, mud, and unreasonable expectations. So as I am now following Couch to 5K and am thus an athlete and an expert, I have decided to tell you The Truth about running and exercise for those of us who are not 18 and were never sporty to start with. Yes, readers: this is everything you wanted to know about running but were afraid to ask (although if it isn’t, ask away).

1/ Couch to 5K works. However. If you are unfit like me, the weeks will take you longer than a week. Frankly they may take you months. You might even need to practice to get good enough to do week 1 (I did). Don’t feel bad about it and don’t do more than you can do. I mean, try to do it regularly and push yourself a bit, but you’re not supposed to be on the point of collapsing because then you would give up and be depressed. Remember: sustained effort, not one-off huge unrepeatable efforts (and that is a summary of everything I have ever done wrong in my life).

2/ If you ever go anywhere near a running magazine, website or other publication, they will impress on you the importance of correct shoes and equipment. Now, if you have existing joint problems then yes, fair enough, but, if you are just averagely unfit like me, let me break it to you: when you first start running, there is absolutely no chance of you running far enough to do your knees any harm at all. Frankly you could drag a pair of flip flops out of the back of your cupboard and do it in those (don’t because you might trip. I fell over today (not wearing flip flops) and it hurt, also I had to be rescued by two ginger dogs and I looked ridiculous). If I were you I would wear whatever trainers you have got lying about until you know if you like it or not because if you spend a fortune on flashy new ones that will guarantee that your first run will be your last.
Bruise developing on knee from falling over. Splat! Just like a starfish!
3/ Nor do you need leggings which wick sweat away, posh shiny vests or anything of that ilk unless it makes you feel more confident. I am sorry to say this, but, when you have first started running, you will look daft. You will look as if you are about to expire when you have been running for twenty seconds. You will stumble. You will have a constipated expression on your face. If you have posh sweat-wicking leggings and big shiny trainers you will look like a new runner who has spent money on clothes: you will not look as if you can run any better.

4/ When I first considered running I was very preoccupied by how daft I would look. I felt it was something I could not do in public. I felt the embarrassment would crucify me. After I had been running for 10 seconds I stopped caring and I have never cared since. And I am generally quite self-conscious. So do not let self-consciousness put you off because there will always be someone who looks worse than you (me) and really, no-one is looking at you. If they do look at you, give them the finger, no I am joking, or at least do not do that until you are confident you can run away fast enough. For me that will be some time in Autumn 2012.

5/ There is one item of equipment that is vital and that is a sports bra. I sometimes think you can tell who was likely to have benefited most from PE at school if you know what bra size they were when they were 13. I was 36C and let me tell you, there were additional issues for me when we had to do trampolining (I kid you not) that were not a problem for my AA friends. Get a good, supportive bra (it will look revolting) and I also then wear a tight lycra vest (from Treehouse28 on etsy) to strap myself down further so I can be comfortable, and not be recreating Baywatch Circa 1991 any more than I have to.

5/ Dogs love runners. I run through the local park and the hairier and larger the dog, the more it wants to be friends and run with me. It is a bit disheartening to be continually overtaken by the Dulux Dog, yes it is, but just remember that dogs have no sense of irony and they mean well. (Unless they bite you! They won’t).

6/ Buy a stop watch. Again, you do not need one that measures your blood pressure, heart rate and the condition of your soul, just a very cheap one from Argos. This will mean you can measure your progress and it is encouraging, also you cannot do Couch to 5K without one.
Pro Fitness. Ha
7/ Think back to the days of navy knickers. Did you try to get out of PE by saying you had your period? And did your PE teacher tell you that exercise was actually excellent for period pains so get moving, Fatso? Well, you were right and she was wrong. I suspect this is one of the things that is different for everyone, but, if I time my run wrong (either as my period starts or during ovulation) I can bring on cramps. You may be different but just be aware because who wants pain if they can avoid it. And while we are way down the TMI road I will tell you that although I do not have personal experience with this, I believe running can bring on leaking if you have stress incontinence, although I have also read it can make it better. You see, running is hardcore and all your insides get jiggled about. Why should I do this terrible thing you cry, well…

8/ What they really don’t tell you is that exercise makes you feel much better. Much better! It is like drinking wine without the hangover. It is the endorphins. They are strangely addictive and also it is better than drugs because you don’t have to be hanging about on street corners, you just have to embarrass yourself failing to overtake dogs and occasionally falling over.

I am thinking of swimming next, but the thought of the swimsuit is putting me off. Perhaps I could have one like Nigella? I would be the talk of Cambridge.