Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category

2017: Running Year, Slightly More Detailed   Leave a comment


January:  The 2016 Siracusa Marathon got cancelled so I planned on the 2017 edition of the race in late April and started training for it as the holidays came to a close.  The orange trace on the monthly graphs shows my TARGETED 7-day mileage and the blue trace my ACTUAL distance; having done a few marathons, I wasn’t too anal about precision but — since I was shooting for a Boston and New York qualifying time — I tried to exceed the prescribed dosage when convenient.  Cold and occasionally rainy, the pub count for January was 16 total, 13 of them involving runs.  My racing license arrived from the Italian athletics authorities and I got my required medical certificates sorted before the end of the month. This seemed a good start to the year.  Net Mileage = a modest 137.

Highlight: 17.2 mile loop to Wetherspoon pubs in Wembley and Kingsbury in some light snow, mid-month

February: The 2017 Siracusa Marathon was cancelled on 01 February…of course.  Having started the training, I stuck with it in case something else popped up but nothing really cool presented itself.  My heart wasn’t in it, and the pub count became much more the focus (16 out of the 17 February pubs were during the runs).  Mileage: 141 (month), 278 (year)

Highlight: The 5 February canal run into the city, first time on some of that now familiar path


March: Realising the soul had left the training body, I shifted the focus to the London Outer Orbital Path with an aim to finishing by the end of May (actually, a fairly ambitious plan).  I had already covered Sections 11 and 12 for 12 miles worth of the LOOP and in March picked up 3 more segments for another 19 miles.  All 20 pubs were during runs, and on 31 March I resumed the London A to Z Runs project with I for Isis.  Mileage: 160 (month), 438 (year)

Highlight: Sections 13-14 of the LOOP, in the cold rain, with surley pub lunatics throughout


April: A funk settled in as the date for the cancelled race in Sicily approached.  Despite this, I trundled on through J, K, and L of the A to Z runs. 9 more pubs (+ 2 not on runs), but no more sections of the LOOP.  Once the training schedule was finished, I scaled back prescribed runs to total 22 miles per week while I tried to get my mojo back.   Mileage: scant 101 (month), 539 (year).

Highlight: The J run for being absolutely ludicrous


May: With Jackie off to America for a couple of weeks, I settled into tackling the LOOP and completed the 24 remaining sections (132 more miles) by the 30th.  I consumed Hull for my out of town trip (mostly a liquid diet) and continued the A to Z with M, N, and O.  Pubs: 74 (60 on runs).  Mileage: 200 (month), 739 (year).

Highlight: The LOOP, but especially sections 22-24


June: A persistent upper respiratory infection dogged me from the end of May till mid-June and I didn’t run at all for a full week early in the month.  I changed the prescribed distances so that I would simply average 21 mpw rather than designating 5 day during the week with targets and this made it a little more psychologically palatable after my little health fiasco.  The monthly mileage suffered greatly (only 87 and change) and I reached the six month mark with only 826 miles in my pocket — this was going to be a very slack year, indeed, if I didn’t make some changes.  All 12 pubs were on runs, one before a work function and the rest on A to Z runs P, Q, and R.

Highlight: The erstwhile Postbox run


July: Despite a jump on the running month early on, the illness from June returned and even brought severe nose bleeds with it this time.  Recovering toward the end of the month, I managed 13 pubs on runs (19 overall) mostly on A to Z runs S, T, and U.  Mileage: 109 (month), 935 (year) … it was going to be a strange feeling to break 1000 in August.

Highlight: The Land of Liberty, Peace, and Plenty run


August: And, strange it was so I adjusted my target mileage to 35 per week to kick my ass into gear a little.  This — and the unusually warm weather — seemed to do the trick as I completed V-Y of the A to Z runs, picked up 23 more pubs (21 whilst running), and surpassed the July mileage by nearly 50% (154 on the month, 1089 on the year).

Highlight: The Xenophile run


September: Feeling that structure helped motivate me in August, I reloaded my Ultra Marathon Training regimen from back when I was working up to the Ridgeway 86 miler a few years ago.  Not to target a race, mind; no, just to have some difficult-to-attain weekly goal that would also, if followed, get me to an almost respectable end-of-year total over 1800 miles.  With the long runs on Sundays but a long-standing promise to Jackie that I wouldn’t take up all day on the weekends with ridiculously long runs, I found myself ticking off Wetherspoon pubs at the ~9am end of the longer journeys, then catching the Tube home for a quick shower to be ready for the day’s activities by 11.  So, in the 30 days of September I managed to hit 30 new pubs (22 on runs) whilst clocking another 178 miles (1267 on the year: if I stuck with the schedule, this would give me over 1950 by New Year’s Eve!).  Oh, and I finished the A to Z on the 1st of the month.

Highlight:  The first and second Hammersmith Sunday morning runs

October: Staying relatively healthy until the end of October (save for fracturing the middle toe on my right foot on a pre-dawn towpath a week into the month), I managed to rack up all my prescribed mileage and then some (226 for the month, 1493 on the year but still trailing Brownie by 200 — who is also chasing a scant, by his standards, 2000 miles on the year).  Jackie brought an especially harsh cold home and suffered with it for two weeks before I finally succumbed at Halloween and spent two days convalescing at the start of November.  But, by then I had managed 19 more pubs on runs (a lot of single pub runs during the work week, 28 total on the month).  The long runs were forcing me into new territory, too, despite being mostly in the wee hours of the mornings.

Highlight: Finishing off the Witney pubs that have daytime hours


November:  Finished painting the cast iron bunnies, went to the annual Socialism conference, and started a new running project focused on the Tube, Overground, and London Trams.  Mileage reached 253 for the month (1746 for the year) largely on the TfL Runs but also in part due to the start of the Holiday Run Streak.  Jackie left for the States on Thanksgiving Day and it was the first time I missed making an obscene meal for the Holiday in the nearly 40 years since I moved away from my folks.  I took some time off work at Oxford to focus on some long runs and drink a beer or two at an interestingly named pub or two.

Had yet another unsuccessful job interview, this time in Birmingham; however, since I was sure I wasn’t suited for the job — and certain that they knew that when they invited me — I interviewed as if for a job that I wanted.  Got a call a couple days later saying they weren’t going to offer me this job but that they would like to have me reinterview for the imaginary job I appeared to be after.  As I was told, one of the panel asked, after I left, “what the actual hell was that?”  Another replied, “I don’t know, but I want one.”  With any luck, they’ll be back in touch early in the New Year.

Highlight: The TfL Run Project started



Hard training (188 miles in only the first half of the month, 276 by the end) in regressively shittier weather left me susceptible to the worst respiratory infection of the year, which I succumbed to for two weeks starting the day after Jackie returned from putting her mom’s house on the market.  Don’t worry, I shared it with her and we were both still ill for Christmas.  What a shitty holiday season this year.  I mean, we put up a tree and ate & drank too much (and quite well); watched bad telly; went for a couple of walks and, in my case, kept up with the runs.  But, it was an even more low-key affair this year than most.  That’s winter, for you: makes you anxious for what the coming year brings.

Highlight: Hitting 2000 mile threshhold on Boxing Day and, despite only hitting 1000 at mid-August, finishing the year with 2022.



Posted December 31, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

Tagged with ,

2017 Holiday Run Streak, Week 2 (26 Nov – 2 Dec)   7 comments

This week: 65.8 miles.  Since 18 November: 158.2 miles.

The best map item of the week was too far out-of-the-way to explore on my Saturday run but I put it here for the record.  Some background: the news media went nuts last week when these idiots from Arkansas (but I repeat myself) named their child Olivia Garton after the faux Italian restaurant, Olive Garden.  Here’s proof that isn’t such an original idea (picture linked to Google map):



Sunday 26 November:  One of the TfL Runs and, therefore, already written up here, the 16.1 miles is mapped below. I’m glad I have this time to knock out the suburban outskirts in the winter, though).


Best picture of the day was my proposed pub sign for the weirdly named 2nd pub of the run:

Monday 27 November:  Shattered after the past week, I made the day’s run a little over the minimum at 4 miles, just a straightforward jog from the bus stop at Thornhill Park & Ride to the labs:



Tuesday 28 November:  Some of this is just walking around, but the running bits totaled out at 8.8 miles on my University of Birmingham (failed) interview trip.  A shame, really, since I felt immediately at home here…it is a lot like Atlanta was in the late ’70s and early ’80s before the population explosion.  Pretty pictures from this route exist in this post mainly as a means of showing the wife, still State-side, that it wasn’t just a Brummie pub crawl: Birmingham Stuff


I mean, it wasn’t NOT one, either.  Pub #2000 and 3 others were added to this blog’s collection.  A Birmingham snapshot?  Here you go:


Wednesday 29 November: Still halfway recovering from the long weekend and resting ahead of yet another coming up, I repeated Monday’s commuter run with a hilly side trip to extend the route to 5.6 miles.  Good thing I chose to run in the morning because I was swamped at work for the day.


Thursday 30 November:  Already written up in the TfL thread, I got in 8.7 miles and three pubs from North Acton to Preston Road via a section of the Overground.



Friday 1 December:  Back from work after dark, I ticked off some more of the Metropolitan Line segments before heading south toward some takeaway for supper … 3.6 miles, net.


Saturday 2 December:  Bloody cold out, today, but there was some sun.  Yet another TfL run (write-up soon), this time 19 miles, 4 pubs, and sections of the Docklands Light Rail, District, Hammersmith & City, and Jubilee Lines.






Posted December 2, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

Tagged with

Edward VIII Postbox #6 and other Birmingham stuff   3 comments


I went to Birmingham for a job interview because I am sick to my fucking gills of one individual at Oxford who will neither fuck off nor die.  Announcing my intention to leave was supposed to encourage our boss to get him to do the former.  He’ll have to go to the wrong (or right) part of the States for me to have any influence on the latter.  But, a job I could do came up and I put in a half-assed performance today in case neither preferable opportunity arose.

I was also pretty sure the trip would mark my 2000th pub and, while walking toward #1999 I glanced over and spotted the most pristinely preserved Edward VIII pillar I have yet seen (that’s 6, so far).  This MUST be an auspicious sign (but of what?).



I really think I would like it here, too.  From the massive market between the main rail stations to the University was about a 30 minute stroll along the canal.






The job, which I have serious doubts I will get, is in buildings either side of the walk from this sculpture to the tower in the background:

More Brummie stuff in the pub write-ups when I get to them:

The Anchor #1999

The Woodman #2000

The Square Peg #2001

The Peaky Blinders #2002


Posted November 28, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Tourism, work

Tagged with , ,

Charing Cross to Embankment, Northern and Bakerloo Lines, TFL Run Project   3 comments

This run also has a segment of the Central Line from Shepherd’s Bush to Marble Arch and another on the Piccadilly Line from Knightsbridge to Green Park.


Okay, this is the most taking-the-piss section, probably, on the whole London Underground.  There are tons of stations that have longer walks from gate-to-platform than there is between the far side of Charing Cross Station to Embankment.

And, halfway down there the Beaujolais Nouveaux Day breakfast awaited.



The segments are so close together that it hardly makes a difference on the individual tube line maps:


Northern Line progress

Bakerloo Line segment



Here are all of today’s segments for the curious:

And the overall progress:



Posted November 16, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

Tagged with , , , , ,

Knightsbridge to Green Park, Piccadilly Line, TFL Run Project   2 comments

This run also has a segment of the Central Line from Shepherd’s Bush to Marble Arch and another short one from Charing Cross to Embankment shared by the Northern and Bakerloo Lines.

Just across the road from Hyde Park on my way to Knightsbridge Station, I spotted this grand sculpture.  I think it is titled, “Naked Ethnics Escaping Indentured Servitude At The Oligarch’s Arms Apartments.”  Or, it should be.



Knightsbridge Station is under repair:



Hyde Park Corner has all the sculpture you ever need, but the station, itself, recedes into the undergrowth:



Then, after an easy drift along Green Park itself, I found Green Park Station and headed south to the Mall then east to Villiers Street for the Beaujolais Nouveaux Day breakfast:



Here are all of today’s segments for the curious:

And the overall progress:

Posted November 16, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

Tagged with , , , ,

Shepherd’s Bush to Marble Arch, Central Line, TFL Run Project   2 comments

This run also has a segment of the Piccadilly Line from Knightsbridge to Green Park and another short one from Charing Cross to Embankment shared by the Northern and Bakerloo Lines.

A start on the Central Line


Not much of interest on this run, but of course I’ve covered these tracks many times.

I caught an early Tube to Shepherd’s Bush Station then headed toward the Beaujolais Nouveaux Day breakfast at Gordon’s Wine Bar.  I had 6 miles scheduled and just made it , eventually, turning on the GPS just outside the station:



Bayswater Road is fairly straight, not hilly, and eventually runs the north side of Hyde Park.  Next up on the trot was Holland Park Station where, at 7:30 am, the drones were still just trickling out:



The pavements were crowded around Notting Hill Gate, but this still was nothing compared to any time between 9 am and 9 pm:



When I did the London Underround for my birthday a few years back, I tried to get in this side of Queensway Station and it was gated then.  There are turnstiles, as there were then, but you still have to turn the corner to enter the Station:



I never really appreciated how ugly Lancaster Gate Station is, before this morning:



The wealthy buurt along Bayswater turns into the shoppers hell of Oxford Street at Marble Arch, where my run turned SW across the park, past the Serpentine, and over to Knightsbridge:



Here are all of today’s segments for the curious:

And the overall progress:

Posted November 16, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

Tagged with , , ,

Barons Court to Ealing Common, Piccadilly Line, TFL Run Project   3 comments

Also on this run: a segment of the District Line that contains this one, and a short portion of the London Overground.


The first TfL Run station stop on this streak of Piccadilly Line was Barons Court, a lovely building I really should come to see in the light of day, sometime.  This was just a short trot from the beer stop at the Famous Three Kings (write-up soon):



Continuing on, the District and Piccadilly entrance to Hammersmith Station rucks up before the insane foot- and vehicular-traffic of central Hammersmith:



Turnham Green emerged after a few District Line stops on the same railbed but the planned path to it from Stamford Brook Station was closed and I got a bit of a tour of the area on my way:



Acton Town Station is also a nice gaff, more architecturally interesting than the industrial buildings around it.  From there, a quiet path through some neighbourhoods followed.



Ealing Common Station has the London Underground Roundel motif incorporated into the windows, something I never noticed in daylight:



Tonight’s entire route was a little over 9 miles:




Here’s the state of the project as it stands:


Posted November 15, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

Tagged with , , ,