moving about. learning Chinese, practicing Tai Ji Quan, doing Qi Gong, or simply going out running. resisting the monkey impulses.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Gaps in the system - outlook fair

If there's one thing runners should not worry about, it's the weather. Right now, the UK is being dampened by a succession of Atlantic storm systems. All par for the course. I think I confused my Chinese teacher more than I should be allowed to with "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out", but it holds much truth.

Having said that, it was pretty nice on Tuesday when my usual partner an I did a 6-ish mile loop round Loseley etc. Yesterday was lovely, despite the misery guts forecasters, and I did about 8 miles on my own. Some parts were a bit squishy. This time I took a camera. Here are some curiosities that Surrey tries to hide away:

PuddleFieldSt Francis LittletonLaneOver the gap

(a few more on Flickr)

So far it's looking OK for Sunday's long run. That's normally a sign of a downpour, but I'm not worried. It is what it is.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Slight changes to blogrolls

Repulsive Monkey:
Ni Hao: Running in Suffolk, Virtual Mandarin, Chinese with Ease, Manchurian Candidate
Zai Jian: Peter Bojanic

+ : nothing
– : all running blogs


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Puffing and Panting

A big chunky week this week.

On the Mandarin front, the class's usual teacher returned from Shanghai, and we got stuck into the dialogs. As I've said before, the level is OK/a bit easy/ but it's going good. I got my iMac back from the menders, so the latest podcasts from ChinesePod are getting listened to on trains. The ChinesePod forum is lighting up a bit, and there's a few good tips coming out. One of which was a full dictionary for Palm (and other handhelds) called Pleco. I even spent real money on it! Good thing, this weak dollar!

I spent a good hour or so studying han zi yesterday, and I should be doing the same now, except ...

I'm feeling pretty wasted from this morning's run. We missed the rain that's been persisting down for the rest of the day, and didn't deliberately train that hard, but I feel like I've just done a Half. It was one the usual Munstead/Bramley loops. Would have taken the camera, being jealous of Running in Suffolk's splendid photo/running blog, except it was grey as a damp battleship.

I went down the gym on Friday (my sixty-quid a time visit!) and whizzed around the place on the bike yesterday, so I'm not suprised the batteries are low. I really can't study when I'm tired. Put the kettle on, love!

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Sunday, May 14, 2006


Just back from the second Wang Hai Jun class. I'm knackered now. Some of that was due to the Northern Line being out of commission, but also because of the intensity of the sesssion. It became a very humid afternoon just as we started getting into the stamps, leaps, kicks and jumps of the 18-movement Chen style form. As before, nothing that I strictly speaking had not seen before, but a different quality altogether. Loads of people took pictures, which might get posted later. I think Andy who runs Palmchange was going to post the group photo there.

Met Julia who was at the Norfolk weekend (photos on Flickr) last year. She amazed me by having a photo of us lot – on Holkham Beach during the course – still on her camera since last August. I'm more of a two-memory-cards-a-day man.

On the way up, I studied Chinese in Steps. It's going quite well. If I put in a couple of good long sessions each week, the size of the lessons is not too much to keep up with. I spent about an hour yesterday translating simple sentences, and writing them out.

second character should be "zhi2" - error in IME?

Yes, it took me about that time to do all six.

So, as I was studying on the train today I briefly chatted to a guy sitting opposite who admitted to wanting to start learning. He looked Chinese, but turned out to be Thai, though I heard him speaking German on the phone! He said he'd studied lots of Western European languages and had moved on to Russian. Thai is tonal, and grammatically similar to Chinese (lots of implied verbs and sentence components, particles-a-go-go, all that) so I reckon he's got it easier than most. Also being a pianist he'll know what it's like to hunker down and practice, and he'll be used to reading strange notational systems.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Munstead and Bramley

We've got a good route established now for the longer Sunday runs. It's got a good hill near the beginning and plenty of options at the end for shortening or lengthening the route as required. We attacked the hill this time, maxing the HR at the top. So much so that I lost count of the seconds when trying to count it. A sign of lack of O2! Really we should be taking these Sunday runs a bit easier. If you are ever near Munstead, look out for the converted water tower, which we ignored completely.

Perfect running weather, bit of sunshine to make things look nice, but cool enough not to dehydrate. We cracked a bit of pace on the flat, didn't dawdle to much at any point, and clocked about 1:50 running time.

No Sunday run next week, as I'm off to Kentish Town again for another day of Wang Hai Jun's tai chi.


Thursday, May 04, 2006


We tried an interval session tonight. 6 x 2' along a nice quiet path on the Loseley estate. That warm weather we're having (that came across on a day trip from France – normal service tomorrow I expect) made things rather sweaty. Six was quite enough.