Month: October 2014

The Seasons Officially Out Today

I have always wanted to create a coffee table book and though I haven’t quite cut the mustard yet, The Seasons, my new collection of short stories, comes close. Exciting!

Filled with eight intriguing short stories, the collection is sleek enough to compliment any coffee table, but also rich with good reads. Out today officially, The Seasons is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online retailers. Not only a great Christmas gift idea, the collection is also a great read for a cool autumn day or a cosy winter one. And it’s just the thing for a short train ride.

Umm, think I’ll take mine out later today. In the meantime, have sneak preview right here.





What Does Brain Fog Have to do With It?

For years now, I have asked myself this very question and haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer. Sure I’ve understood for a long time that food has a real impact on organs such as the liver, kidneys, the heart. But, not the brain. Honestly!

Lucky for me,  I have found some answers now,  even if searching took me through a dramatic experience or two. Read more about what I discovered about brain fog in my latest Huffington Post blog, and also how to manage it. Thank goodness, the fog has lifted.

Seeing what’s in the Timing

As a local, I often look at what meets the eye, nothing more.  And now and again, I don’t even do that. I scan areas and attractions, rather fleetingly. But recently in keeping with the running with sense theme, I thought I’d pay more attention to my surroundings and how wonderful it was to discover new characteristics of the Thames Path.

But surprisingly, I found it hard to focus without interruption from my other senses, so instead of banging out a blog after one running session, I gave it three. Not to mention the backlog of work for my new website and latest book, The Seasons, both coming soon! Watch this space.

Anyhow, the most distracting of all of the senses was hearing. Having ditched the iPhone to listen up sensibly, all I could seemingly do was hear the sounds of helicopters, airplanes, buses, cars, even people humming away.  To this end, I shut my eyes briefly, thinking I could block them out, but only made the sounds louder and also nearly lost my balance. Thankfully, I recovered quickly, even if I was dizzy.

Thus on the second morning, I stayed wide-eyed, no matter what, and lo and behold I made an interesting discovery. It was all in the timing.

By 8 o’clock London is pretty much wide awake and in this state, the city is noisy, but still sleepy in the earlier hours, London is serene and far more noticeable by sight, at least the distance I run on the Thames Path whether towards Putney or Battersea.

While the sky, even in its greyness, seems calm, so does the river, even if it is rushing and swirling. Meanwhile a single bird flies low and speculates, too. And cyclists, runners and walkers move easily.

The commuters seem more polite to one another, mimicking you first, I insist while approaching the river bus, the bus, the train

And the beautiful luxury houseboats on The Thames look picture perfect, too. Even the skyscrapers in the distance look inviting and not steely as they can in the midst of the day.

This morning, I noticed a cat scampering about in silence. Imagine! Also, I saw a dog or two prancing and smiled to myself, understanding the phrase puppy dog eyes. And then tick tock went the clock and cyclists came tearing down the path, tooting their horns, and mothers and fathers scrambled to keep up with their scooting children, and runners tried to stay out of the way, me included.

Finally at the finish line, I stopped to stretch and take in the fresh air and realised that I was distracted, already getting ahead to feeling. Thus, I fixed my eyes on the river. Captivated by its life, the water looking like silk flesh as it ebbed and flowed, a lone duck riding it, I couldn’t help grunting when I felt a pain in my leg. Thrown out of the scenery, yet again, I gave in to feeling. That’s next week’s assignment. Stay tuned.

Listening Up and Running With Sense

My iPhone has been my running companion for the two years that I have taken up running rather seriously.  No wonder. It is the keeper of my running music, any kind of music, including gospel, and my trusted RunKeeper app.

The thought of running without it was inconceivable until this past Saturday. Case and point: last summer while running a 10K, I must have added at least five minutes to my time when the app suddenly stopped.  Though I tried to keep going without it, I couldn’t hack it, so I stopped long enough to recover the app and my running playlist.

Meanwhile my running mate, who couldn’t conceive of running with music and so on, had long left me in the blazing distance. Still I didn’t see her point and set out to prove her wrong or just different, perhaps. So while visiting Georgia, I’d hijack my niece’s phone, having installed the app there and a substitute playlist.  And off I went. No matter where I ran, I set off with somebody’s phone.

Still I struggled, perhaps lost in the music and the commands of Ms RunKeeper, blaming my pokiness on anything but the obvious. But those days are gone, at least I hope they are. After spending about three days in sabbatical without my phone, my iPad, a single device, I finally saw the device for what it was—a distraction, certainly while running.

But seeing is next week’s focus of running with sense. This week I want to talk about hearing.  Things went so well Saturday that Monday morning, I set out yet again without the phone. Okay so it was in my pocket, just in case. But the just in case never happened, giving me the opportunity to hear London running rather smoothly, to be honest.

From birdsong to the cawing of the lone black crow perched on the lamppost, I heard London wake up. To one side of me, though I kept my head away from sooty, low waters of the Thames, I focused on the sounds of the water crashing against the gravelly shore.  For a moment, I fancied myself miles away on a remote island.

But the idea of running with sense is to stay in the moment and so I returned and further up the riverbank heard the splashing sounds of the river bus speeding along. At Battersea Bridge, I stopped and closed my eyes, listening to the thudding sounds of buses crossing, motorcycles vrooming and car engines purring and droning.

And to the other side of me, I heard the whooshing of wind passing through the trees and the rustling of leaves blowing about on the ground. All the while I sensed a calm flowing through me, even when I heard the odd sound of a banging and buzzing. The construction work was underway. Still I knew London was running smoothly. How refreshing!

Near and far I heard the striking of feet against the pavement, some running and others walking and dogs lightly trotting along, if you will. At one time, I heard my own rhythm so acutely that I was sure it must have been the sounds of another but it was mine, so I basked in it.

Then it dawned on me that scarcely a sound of the human voice was to be heard and there was something sobering about that, if only for a moment, though I heard one commuter whispering into her phone—the others going about quietly and purposefully, particularly cyclists. Speaking of cycling, did you know the turning of the wheels of a bicycle makes a lyrical sound, much like mosquitoes singing in the night? Me either.

And then they came, a class of school children running without sense if you will. They giggled, they chattered, they panted, and they shushed one another. But still it was a lovely sight to see.  They were running, really exercising! But that’s another story. Righty ho. Next week – Looking Out: Running with Sense.