Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Flashback 1997 - When I was a runner.

The pretext for posting these pics is to illustrate my short-lived hobby of 'serious' running.  - and besides, my late mum and my sister are the only ones who have ever seen them.
Both events were done when I'd turned 50 the previous year, the first showing me after completing the London Marathon (my one and only) and the other (with me in the centre) the 'Great North Run' on Tyneside - still the biggest annual half-marathon in the world, in terms of number of participants. I'd only been running for less than 5 years before 1997, but since then there's been a spectacular fall-off in capability. So far this year I haven't even managed to run a single half-mile without having to stop, hee-hawing loudly for breath. My doctor tells me, with a self-satisfied smirk on his face (which I'd dearly love to rub off somehow) - "Ah, don't forget that you're growing older!" Some comfort, as though I didn't know that myself. The troubling part is that the deterioration in performance was so rapid from about 1998 onwards. In that particular Great North Run I'd finished in 8,450th place, which, though sounding dire, was actually well in the top third, and which, even though I say it myself, isn't all that bad for someone of my age at that time who'd only been running for a very few years.
     Anyway, I'd be deluding myself if I thought that those days could ever return, but it really is a great disappointment. I haven't dared take part in an official event since about 7 years ago when I participated in a 10-miler, with maybe just a hundred runners, coming not only among the last 10, but actually beaten by a guy, doing the whole course pushing a woman in wheelchair! But he was very muscular - at least that's my version!
So I stopped myself attempting such follies again, just to avoid self- and public embarrassment. Besides, these days I doubt if I'd ever be able to complete the course, even at a slow jog. Oh well, it seems that my glory days are truly over.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My first '5 on the 5th' - Subject : My Town (Worthing, West Sussex, England)

                                                                 My contribution to 'Stephen Chapman's blog - '5 on the Fifth #26'

In order from top:-

a) The domed building is the 'Dome' cinema on the sea-front. One of this country's first, it started operating in 1911. It still has one of the old-style long auditoria and a few years ago a second small screen was added upstairs. I visit here occasionally, but the films shown tend to be only the big blockbusters. If I want to see a quality art-house or non-English language film I've got to look elsewhere.

b) The Connaught is Worthing's main theatre, starting as a cinema in 1914. In 1935 it was converted to a theatre and since recent years it now alternates between live theatre and films. A second cinema screen was added in the neighbouring property, which, now and again, shows 'minority-appeal' films. But for regular art-house films I've got to travel to nearby Brighton, which I do nearly every week.
The last live show I saw at the Connaught was 'Cowardy Custard' a couple of months ago - a compilation of Noel Coward songs with Dillie Keane and 'Kit & the Widow'. And excellent it was too.
I also the final 'Harry Potter' here a few days ago. I make no further comment, though I could. Well, okay then. In terms of my own personal enjoyment - 3/10.

c) Harold Pinter lived here! True, only from 1962 to 64, but it was also the very place where he wrote what must be one of his and this country's greatest 20th century plays - 'The Homecoming' - bleakly and disturbingly funny. Pinter was and is one of my 'gods' and even now I feel privileged to know that he lived and breathed in this vicinity, just 10 minutes walk from where I'm living. He gave a BBC radio interview in which he talked about living in Worthing and taking his dog for a daily morning walk down to the sea-front. Awesome stuff!

d) Brookfield Park on the far eastern edge of the town. The picture was taken the three days ago on what was to be the last day of the current hot spell.

e) Looking westwards with Worthing pier in the distance.