I may be some time…

Next Wednesday I set off in a van on a 5,000 mile round trip to Istanbul to support the Istanbul to Leeds cycle challenge which aims to raise funds for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. As a result I will be more-or-less out of action from 21st July through until 31st August – I will have some access to emails but will only be able to check and respond on an irregular basis.

Hopefully before then I will finish off sites for Will Soden (plumber), Pickles and Potter (Deli/Cafe) and the Northern Dales Farmers Markets (farmers markets) as well as getting on as much as possible with the new site for Run For All (mass-participation runs). Diverse to say the least!

Oh and as a slight aside I also found something else that results in WordPress’ wonderful white screen of death – messing around too much with the chmod settings of the wp-content folder.

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Run run run/web web web

It seems that all I’ve really blogged about lately is running, and I’m going to continue that trend.

Yesterday I ran the inaugural Jane Tomlinson Hull 10k. We got a lift over with Maggie (Run For All’s head of press), which was great…the only problem being that Maggie needed to be in Hull very early and as a result we were picked up at 5am…5am! This is the second Sunday in a row that I’ve been up before 6.30am (last Sunday Becca and I went on an early morning bike ride) – it’s suprising how light it is at 4am (and how loud the birds are). The drive over to Hull is pretty boring, lots of motorway, so I carried on ready The Man Who Cycled The World (by Mark Beaumont) – which is excellent and I thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in cycling, travel or slightly mad and ambitious adventures. We arrive at the Guild Hall in Hull shortly after 6 and made ourselves useful fetching and carrying things to help with a few last minute things (as one of the designated Run For All IT bods I immediately got sat at a computer on arrival).

Even at that time it was getting warm, by 8.30 as we made our way to the start line it was absolutely roasting. Luckily the course was fairly flat and part of it goes down to the river-front so there was a nice breeze coming in off the Humber. This was the first Hull 10K and the support along the course was absolutely great, comparable to the awesome crowds at last year’s York 10K. It makes such a difference to have loads of people having a great time and cheering you on and it always makes me smile to see the brilliant hand-made signs held up by kids with ‘good luck mum/dad/etc’ messages on. Despite the heat I finished in a PB of 45mins 57seconds, once again managing to convince my body that a sprint finish was a good idea – if only I could’ve kept my pace up between 6k-8k then I would’ve comfortably got below 45 minutes – need to do a fair amount of speed training over the next month if i want to stand any chance of getting close to (or hopefully under) 40 minutes at the Leeds 10K in July.

Right, that’s quite enough babbling about running, onto other things. I’ve been playing around with some ideas to enhance the Jane Tomlinson Appeal website, I’ve found a couple of nice jQuery twitter plugins and also this excellent (and very simple/easy to use) javascript flickr plugin – Flickrshow (http://api.flickrshow.com/v7/). I had a bit of a look at the YouTube API but it seems to be fairly stubborn and not hugely useful for the relatively simple things I’ve got in mind – I’m sure I can work something out.

In other web-news, I’m on the finishing leg for the Pickles & Potter and Northern Dales Farmers Markets sites – hopefully have a bit more news about them in the next week or so.

Running, Raining, Writing

Nimes was bloody ace, a very pretty (in a kind of crumbly way) town. Lots of roman architecture and amazing cafés, we just mooched around, went to see Avignon and the Pont Du Gard, repeatedly braved public transport (and didn’t get lost once, although I almost managed to make us miss a bus by waiting on the wrong side of the road) and ate lots of bread and cheese, drank loads of wine and chilled out. In exciting cheese-related news, did you know that in France they have FULL SIZED BABYBELS! I kid you not, try to contain yourselves, and they’re fooking massive. Ace.

Spent a good chunk of yesterday down in Sheffield at the English Institute of Sport where Becca was taking part in a charity heptathlon for Sport Relief along with some celebrities and professional sports people. It was a really fun day, everyone was so nice, had a good chat to olympic diver Nick Robinson-Baker who was a very nice bloke and also spoke briefly to the very nice Jess Ennis (a special mention must also go to, now retired, ice hockey player Ron Shudra – an incredibly lovely man). It was such a rewarding event to be at, everyone had loads of fun, noone took themselves too seriously and were really generous with their time. Becca found it a bit weird that people were asking for her autograph though! I think there will be some highlights of it on Look North tonight, there were lots of cameras around and the whole thing was organised by the Beeb so you’d imagine it was recorded one way or another.

This week I will be cracking on with some structural changes to the Run For All site, finishing off things for Ben Cotton and Aisling Swindells, continuing work on the Pickles and Potter site and also starting work in earnest on the Northern Dales Farmers Markets site – for which I spent a very rainy Saturday in Richmond taking photos.

Marathon training continues, we went to Decathlon in Sheffield yesterday and I stocked up on new shorts – I haven’t run in shorts since I was at school. My oh my, running in shorts is brilliant!

Nimes, Markets, stuff

Had a fairly productive Sunday that involved getting the earliest train to Skipton to take photos at the Skipton Farmers Market. Unfortunately despite the glorious weather it was bloody freezing, the train was late and I had a bit of trouble finding the market so ended up wandering around the entireity of Skipton town centre. Skipton is a bit of an odd place, part- nice, Dales, market town, part- horrible, scummy, crap-shopping-centre-filled- hole.

Anyways, I managed to get a few decent shots, the light was an absolute nightmare to work with – a really low, really bright, winter sun that had everyone squinting.

On Wednesday I’m off on m’holidays, we’re going to Nimes (which is in the South of France), have just tested my schoolboy French to the absolute limit trying to work out if and how we could get trains from Nimes to Avignon and Arles, which are both supposed to be nice. I just want to see the Pont du Gard in all it’s giant, double-aquaduct glory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_du_Gard). To be honest it’ll just be nice to have a bit of a break away from things, work on all fronts has been absolutely manic lately. I’ve not been to that part of France either so it should be interesting on all fronts.

One thing that won’t stop is the marathon training, although it’s annoying (so I’m told) how much space a pair of size 12 running shoes takes up in a suitcase. It’ll be fun to run around somewhere new, although I need to try not to a)get lost or b)forget that traffic is all…on the opposite sides of the road and stuff.

Am currently doing work for; Aisling Swindells (e-portfolio), Ben Cotton (e-portfolio/life stream), Nothern Dales Farmers Markets (complete site redesign and content development), Pickles & Potter (site development), Run For All (site redesign and digital marketing campaign) and have a couple more things in the pipeline.

Oo, also, i made a cheesecake yesterday, was really easy, has about a billion calories in and enough saturated fat to take out an elephant but tastes amazing, will pop up the recipe when i get a chance.

Mid-season stumble

Righty dokie doke, an update, in diary form. I hope to post something of worth later in the week.

Marathon-training has been going especially badly this year, I’ll blame it partly on the snow but I’ve not been getting out and about on a regular enough basis. Although the runs I have been doing have all been 8+ miles I really need to get back into the swing of things, haven’t cycled to work since December…lazy bastard.

I had a brilliantly productive week last week, took time off from work (at Leeds Met) and did my very best to get my house ship-shape again. Luckily my limited flirting with DIY was a resounding success and not a disaster-causing catastrophy.

I also managed to put some serious hours into web work (with my ‘big things and little things’ hat on www.bigthingsandlittlethings.co.uk) and as a result have pretty much finished the redesign of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal site (hopefully it will go live this week or next), finished the site for the brilliant Sunshine Bakery (www.sunshinebakeryleeds.co.uk), wrote a preposal for the redesign and development of the Northern Dales Farmers Markets website and have also been working with Run For All on their digital marketing campaign.

If you are, or know anyone, who needs some web work doing then I am undertaking work at reduced rates until the summer to build my personal portfolio. Hopefully I’ll also be doing some work with/for the fab people at Oxygen (www.oxygenate.net).

I plan to write a bit of a post on my bread-making experiments (vastly improved thanks to a paving slab) and my plans for foraging. I bet you can’t wait…