Contains penguin – I am proud of this in a very unseemly way

If you come here for the insightful running commentary, it’s probably best if you move along, there’s nothing to see here. I have run post-Janathon, and may even blog about the start of February, however I am excited about my latest crafty project and want to show off share.

During January, I retweeted a link from SW Craft Club in order to try to win a cross stitch iPhone cover. And would you believe it, I only went and won one of them!


I spent ages trying not to fear the blank and scary potential of it (realising that my indecision is one reason why I’m unlikely to ever get a tattoo). I had aspirations of doing something, you know, a bit arty and classy like, but that soon went out of the window. It seemed apt to use my twitter name (@knittingpenguin) for inspiration so I eventually plumped for designing something around that. Like a penguin doing some knitting maybe.

I have a difficult relationship with cross stitch, I like it at times, but the basic skills it requires (paying attention, counting, not stabbing yourself with a needle) are not high on my list of strengths. With a bit of focus though (Ginge can vouch for the Sunday afternoon of virtual silence he enjoyed) I can get very into the designing and making.

First up, the designing. Lots of graph paper, lots of counting and double checking, lots of googling for penguins.


I think you can see how he evolved, mainly getting shorter and rounder (but his feet stayed the same throughout). After that came the stitching and this was the end result.


Did I mention that I’m very proud? I really enjoyed making this – it’s been nice to do something a bit different and create something from scratch. My only criticism of the silicone case is that it’s bowed slightly, despite me trying my best not to pull my stitches too tight.

I’m a few hundred miles too far north to be considered SW Craft Club’s target audience, but if you’re in their neck of the woods take a look at their blog and events calendar (which just gives me craft envy!) and see if there’s something to inspire you!

Juneathon Day 16: And the winner is…

Last night I went to yoga leaving Ginge with a list of suggestions for my Garmin virtual training partner, some beer and the State of Origin game on the telly. The only deal that we’d struck is that I wasn’t allowed to hint at which one I’d like and he wasn’t allowed to pick something  deliberately that I wouldn’t like.

To be honest, I loved all the suggestions. I was immediately banned from Nicky192’s idea that I should name it after a teenage crush as Ginge knows what I’m still like with my lustful inclinations towards Eric Cantona, and runtezza’s Garmin Miranda made me laugh like a drain.

Honourable mentions from Ginge go to Katrina with Emile Monroe (a name and an anagram) and Robyn with Marvin the Garmin. Hels also got kudos for “Ben, after The Running Man”. However, in the end, Ginge said that there was a clear winner…

And the winner is….

K, like in caKe (the genius behind Cake of Good Hope) with Miles. Not only did Ginge see it and immediately knew that it was right, but as soon as he decided that this was the winner, Nate Myles made a break for Queensland and this was clearly a sign from the gods (or at least the commentators on Channel 9). So well done K, like in caKe! If you let me know where I’m sending it, a tin of William Santus’ finest confectionary will be on its way to you at the weekend.

This morning I took Miles out for a two mile race. The first mile felt great, mile 1 to mile 1.5 was like I’d been fitted with concrete trainers (I suspect that’s down to lots of strong leg work at yoga last night combined with residual achy legs from, ooh, the last fortnight), I started to pull up with half a mile to go before calling myself an idiot and pushing on, quarter of mile from home I realised that some of my discomfort was a hint that if I went much further then there would have to be an emergency pit stop… Needless to say, it was with some relief when Miles tinkled his little bell and told me that the workout had finished.

And the winner was….?



Me! By a whole four seconds. Miles has yet to come up with his excuses.

Juneathon Day 9: Name my Garmin, win sweeties

Crikey, I just thought that I’d managed to miss a day of Juneathon. I remember running every day, but my last blog was titled Day 7. Today is Day 9. What happened to Day 8? Turns out (and thank you for not noticing this) I titled Day 7 as Day 77 (with the subtitle of Bleary, so that’s my ready-made excuse) and Day 8 as Day 7. Idiot.

Today is Thursday and Thursday is social running day. We spurned the canal in favour of one of the local country parks, conveniently forgetting that the word ‘Valley’ in its name is a clue to its geography. Off we trotted, dealing with the usual work, relationship and life issues on the way. The sun was shining, the dog walkers friendly and I was going about 3min/mile slower than I did when I was racing my Garmin training partner of mystery. The annoying thing was that it felt nearly as hard as going at  my usual pace, it seemed most unfair.

We did 3 miles and then lurked in the car park while we continued to set the world to rights and I stared at a chap in a pair of tiny running shorts. He had lovely long lady-like legs and I found myself mulling on the unfairness of this, as well trying to imagine what he would look like with my sturdy man thighs (he’d be shorter and would look ridiculous in tiny running shorts, which would serve him right for nicking my legs).

I have also reached the momentous decision to name my Garmin. I talk to him (ooh, it’s a boy!)  enough as it is, usually muttering something along the lines of “Am I indoors now? Does this look like indoors? See, there’s a bloody canal there, do I have one of those in my house? No. I. Am. Outdoors”. Thank you for all your ideas so far; Ginge has suggested Jonathan (as a play on Jan/Juneathon) and Simon (because I’ll have to do what Simon says), they’re good suggestions, but he was also just naming two of my cousins and that’s a bit weird (incidentally, you have no idea how much attention I had to pay while writing a card to Jonathan in January – it took all my concentration not to write “To Janathon”).

Anyway – this weekend’s canal running takes us to the shiny metropolis that is Wigan. Land of pies, piers and the regional delicacy that is the Uncle Joe’s Mint Ball. Immortalised in song by Mike Harding, this spherical sweetie is a thing of beauty and the waft of peppermint oil on the breeze near Wigan Wallgate is a sensory experience that is rarely beaten.

Give one to your granny and watch the bugger go

I am willing to offer a tin of Uncle Joe’s (with none missing, I promise) to one lucky blog reader who comes up with the best name for what is usually known as That Bloody Thing – just add a comment at the bottom of this and that’s it. In the interests of ethics, I’ll follow JogBlog‘s lead and there will be some kind of independent adjudication involved.