Day 333/365

Triple Nelson day and we almost ended up in the Nelson Arms after a mammoth run around The Mendips. A lot of the route took in a couple of the legs of the Uphill to Wells relay route that I had recce’d, though in the reverse direction. A tad windy out there, a number of times there was a lot of effort to move forwards, but not much ground gained. All made up for by the vegetable chilli in the pub afterwards.

Day 332/365 – Ashton Court parkrun

It was Daryl’s 50th parkrun today, so there was cake to be eaten after an assault on the hill. Great Western Runners were providing pacers, so I tried to stay with Marcus and Kelly (who were pacing 23 minutes). I lost them a little on the first hill, but caught and passed them on the plateau. I could hear Marcus encouraging his group with 250m to go and just about managed to keep them behind me. The rain mostly stayed away, but it was a little blustery.

My watch threw a small fit when I saved my run, but it was still there this week and I synced it to my phone whilst eating cake.

I (provisionally) finished 75th out of 333 parkrunners, was 3rd lady and 2nd in my age category (though one of the scanners failed, so this may change as I thought I counted myself 4th lady). Still 2nd in the points table (but Tanya finished ahead of me, as did Alison).


Some people might think that it is unnecessary or overly emotional to be heartbroken by the death of a pet, but Phoebe had been my companion for over 10 years. She had been with me through divorce, the death of both of my parents, my grandmother dying 10 days after my mother, the loss of various friends, moving house, the year of being employed by Deloitte.

She wasn’t a cuddly cat. It took a year before she purred or walked onto my lap (she had been mistreated before I got here). She rarely played, only occasionally chasing a ball around or kicking three bells out of a catnip infused soft toy. But she did enjoy lying out in the sunshine, either indoors or on the neighbour’s shed roof. She would spend most evenings taking advantage of the undercat heating afforded by a lap with a blanket on it. She was tremendously spoiled with radiator beds, enclosed houses, fake sheepskin beds and blankets to sleep on and in, even getting us to make her a nest at night by placing a blanket over the corner of the sofa.

She wasn’t the brightest cat in the world. If a ball bounced off a door, she would look behind it instead of where it rebounded to. She would wait by the patio door to be let back in, in a place where she couldn’t be seen. She even rolled off the bed once while stretching.

She was always around though, and that may be the hardest thing to get used to. She had access to all parts of the house (joining me in the bathroom when I got up in the morning, walking along the edge of the bath and rubbing up against the shower screen), so that every part of it has memories of her (and a layer of cat hair). That includes all parts of the sofa, under the dining chairs, on top of the dining table, underneath shelves in the office, on the office chair, inside the futon, on the bedroom window seat, on the spare bed, underneath the drinks cabinet, inside boxes and bags, under the bed, on the linen chest of drawers, halfway up the stairs, or just stretched out on the landing by the radiator.

I expect that I will miss her and be looking around for her for a long time to come. I am hoping that the memories of her at the vet’s, and the vet coming in to say that she didn’t think that she would make it will fade soon, to be replaced by the happier images which I have compiled and put on an electronic photo frame (which I am turning on and off depending on whether it brings me comfort or makes me feel sad).

I currently feel guilty.

Guilty that I was not there when she was taken ill.
Guilty that my phone was on silent during a gym class so that I did not get the messages until 45 minutes later.
Guilty that I let her out that morning and exposed her to whatever it was that poisoned her (if that is what it was).
Guilty that I did not take her to the vet when she had what I thought was a stuck hairball a few months ago (that she seemed fully recovered from the following morning, but maybe it was related).
Guilty that her last hour or so of life was spent in distress and was not longer (she was only about 12).
Guilty that my first instinct at the bill for the vet’s attempts to save her life was ‘ouch’.
Guilty that I did not warn my neighbours (who both have cats) until this morning that there might be something toxic in the neighbourhood.
Guilty that I am so upset by the loss of of an animal when there are so many other terrible things happening in the world (and that have happened to people I know).
Guilty that I so quickly moved her things out of sight (too painful to see, but kept for any cats I might have in the future).

Hopefully as I grieve these feelings of guilt will pass as the shock diminishes and I will just be grateful for the time I had with her. I would like to think that I gave her a comfortable life in the main and that she was content. But I will miss her.

OU degree result in…

The result of my final module, DD303: Cognitive psychology is in, and it’s a 76 for my overall examinable score and 76 for my continuous assessment score. That gives me a pass 2 for this module and a 2:1 for my overall degree, which is now complete (A BA (hons) in Philosophy and Psychology). A level up from my 2:2 BA (hons) in Accounting from the University of Liverpool (the proper one), and significantly less marketable (which I count as a good thing, this one was for fun).

Breaking down my exam results and of the three questions I answered, I got a 2 Bs and an A.

I answered question 1, along with 1,024 other students, and got a B (as did another 389 students). For question 4 I got a B again (as did 173 other students of the 544 of us who attempted it). Finally, I answered question 9 and got an A along with 176 of the 826 other students who also attempted that question.

It was interesting to see how the questions broke down in terms of attempts and marks. 1,511 students attempted the exam (I am sure there were some no-shows as well) and had to answer one question from each of three sections (each section having three questions within it). Only 1,502 answers were submitted for the questions in the first section, 1,481 for the second section, and 1,504 for the third section. Most interestingly (to me) was that in the third section, only 50 people attempted the middle question (question 8) and in the second section, only 61 people attempted the last question (question 6).

Day 329/365

I normally do my daily 5km on the way home from my Body Pump Express class on a Wednesday. I found a series of missed calls and texts on my phone when I got out of the class (it goes on silent during the class) as my cat had been taken ill and taken to the vet for tests. I ran straight there (via the route which involved fewest road crossings), but there was nothing the vet was able to do and unfortunately she died while I was there.

After coming home I cleared away her things and headed out for a run to try and clear my head, but it turns out that you can cry and run at the same time. Farewell little cat. You were challenging but redeemed by being so pretty.



Day 328/365

It is bin day today, so the pavements were turned into an obstacle course as I had to dodge not only the cars parked on them, but also an assortment of bins and their contents. It was much warmer today though, and I managed not to get rained on.

Day 327/365

It was the proverbial brass monkeys when I headed out on my run (the outdoor thermometer by the kitchen window said 2ºC, when I came back and got in the car it said 0ºC). I kept a buff over my mouth for most of the run. Initially this was just to keep warm, but as I hit Summerhill Road it was full of cars, so offered a little protection against the fumes. Lots of dodging people on the pavements, I will have to remember my runbell if I want to run this route at this time of day again.

Day 326/365

I think (and hope) I am pretty well recovered from the marathon now (it’s been four weeks) and this week’s Ashton Court long run felt pretty good. I did wuss out a little at the end, but didn’t fancy heading up the parkrun hill again and felt I’d done pretty well with the muddy tracks. I’d also spent yesterday cleaning (including scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen floors) and had a bit more gardening to finish off (hauling around heavy bags of slate chippings), so am giving myself a pass on not following the rest of the group.