Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

9 years

Guys, I have been blogging for 9 years! 9 years!!!

Those of you who have been here from the beginning have listened to me waffle for 9 years! That’s a lot of words, many ideas, plenty of whinges, ¬†and hopefully a little enjoyment along the way! Many miles of running, hundreds of babies delivered, 2 dogs, 1 child, 1 husband. Thanks for sharing the ride with me. Let’s see what I can come up with over the next 9 years.

The button tin

Starting a craft project this weekend, I realized I needed some of my Dawny’s sewing supplies. I haven’t walked into her craft room for an age, the smell – a mixture of baby powder, new material and Dawny – brought an instant eye watering lump to my throat. I took a deep breath and gathered the things I wanted – importantly her button tin.

I took my treasure home and as I spread those buttons over my work station, looking for just the right ones I needed for my project, I was swamped by memories. The tinkling of those buttons against each other as Dawny and I looked through them. There was the one she sewed onto a cardigan for me; another from my brother’s blazer; and another that came with a story about my grandparents… and my heart sang, but oh it ached.

Thandi wandered over and she ran her fingers through those buttons too – they feel smooth and cool, and are tinkly and shiny, which for a magpie, like her, is irresistible. I will concede to being a magpie as a child – stealing a certain Christmas bauble off the tree and hiding it in my cupboard because I couldn’t bear to pack it away it’s sparkles for 50 weeks again. I could see her curious mind wondering as she explored that tin – I love that she will one day hold it in her hands too – and maybe be share with her daughter, and so our generational button tin will outlive me, as it outlived Dawny, but it will forever tether us together…

God, I miss my Dawny.

Common refrains

…I’m busy! Last week’s disappearance wasn’t because I had nothing to say, it was because I was busy! Yes, too busy to carve out 10 minutes to do a quick post. The responsibilities of lead Obstetrician at the hospital, senior partner at the practice, and then, wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt are feeling overwhelming right now. Oh well, how does one eat an elephant – one bite at a time. I am trying to put some more structure in my days and be disciplined. It will settle down. This week I do have some nice things lined up – tomorrow we are going to a pop up restaurant at chef lady’s, it’s always awesome! And then on Friday I am having a facial treatment of sorts – not sure it will be the nice relaxing kind, but if it makes me look good – that’s the price of beauty, I guess! So a few highlights coming up.

In other news I have booked my flights to CT for the marathon in September, I am actually looking forward to it all – it’ll be my first real road challenge since I changed my medication, so I am really keen to see how I perform this time, compared to the disaster that was Loch Ness. I am also hoping to get my qualifying for 2 oceans done during that run – and even if I don’t, it will be the fittest I have ever been coming out of a winter, so I’ll be on a good wicket for my training cycle. I also get the chance to help TAFKAD over the finish line of her first marathon – my only concern is that with her training going super duper well, she will leave me in her dust! I also get to see her new house – she moves at the end of August, and I am super excited to see her new spot. It will mark the end of an era, she currently lives behind my old house in CT, we are all moving on and upwards!


Back on the horse

…so I climbed back on the horse this morning, and went out and ran. It took 10 minutes of arguing within my brain before I climbed out of bed, put on my prettiest running shorts and headed out the front door. At least it wasn’t cold this morning, a balmy 15 degrees, only 23 degrees warmer than Saturday morning! I arrived at the run, got out of my car and headed off with the group and was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the air here actually has quite a bit of oxygen, and it was startling to be able to run with some effort without feeling like my heart and head would explode! My head feels like it may just explode now, but hopefully that will settle down as they day progresses.

It felt good, so, here’s to CT marathon training now. time to qualify for 2oceans again!


… but in the end a DNF.

Damnit! I’m disappointed. I did not make the cut off at the 4:30 mark.

So, let’s do a full report here. Friday morning we closed moved into the car, travelled almost 500km to the tiny village of Rhodes we arrived in the early afternoon, checked into our interesting accommodation arrangements – a double room in a shared house (shared with strangers, so always a risk, which actually worked out ok). A quaint house, creaky wooden floors, thick stone walls, freezing cold! After getting sorted we headed off to registration, which was very smooth, and even though I queued for about 10-15 min they had regular rounds of sherry on offer, so all good and festive! Our goodie bags were full of nice treats too!

Supper was offered by the NGKerk of the district, those farm wives certainly know how to do a good roast lamb – yum! We went to bed early with full tummies. I generally never sleep too well before a run, and this was no exception.

Anyway, before I knew it, it was 5:30, time to start getting ready for the 7am kick off. I’m very pleased to say I could not have done much more kit wise. It was -8 deg at the start, and although my extremities were freezing, I was as warm as I could be, I think.

The route starts on the dirt road out of town, it was damn cold, and as we dropped down to the river, got colder, we hit our first aid station at 8km and shortly after that the sun rose and started to warm things up. There was still quite a bit of snow and ice on the ground, and once we hit the single track it got a bit slippery, but fun.

(Notice my foot on the ice – full weight, and no cracks! It was quite something running along hearing ice crack and fracture in the river as the temperatures started to rise) The big issue for me came after the first check Point, I hit it with a comfortable 2:30 to make the next one, which they had told us was 7km away, except it wasn’t, it was 9km away. And those 2kms, dear readers, made all the difference. I kept monitoring my progress, which was slow, given we had started climbing, it was single track (and not a trail, but a cattle track) and there was a fairly significant drop off into the ravine below) at 19km I thought I had it in the bag; at 20km I was wondering where the significant climb was – a hill called Mavis bank, which they recommend you put 50min aside to do – I was sure she was around this bend, that corner, but it only arrived 2km late, by which time my time budget was blown.

Follow the fence line – that’s what we climbed. From this point you see the first half of the climb, it continues after that little fault line. I had a veteran of 7 runs behind me, he caught up to me, and broke the news that we did not have a hope… I was a bit bleak, tried to push a bit, and was probably about 150m from the top and the check point when the hooter went off.

At that point I sat down, had a weep, calmed my husband and then slowly crawled to the top. I still did that km in about 40 min, so in the final analysis, if I had hit the hill at 20km I would have comfortably made the cut off.

Will I be back? It’s a stunning run, the scenery is incredible, the village is so festive, the experience (that which I made) was amazing. I hated the cold, but knowing I was adequately geared was reassuring. I had only had 6 weeks to get ultra ready, I knew it was going to be a close call. So, I think the answer is yes, if I am lucky enough to get another ticket sometime, I’ll give it a go. I’ve got a score to settle with an old crone called Mavis.


so, tomorrow I leave for the teeny tiny village of Rhodes, high up in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains. My list is sorted, I just need to pack ALL the warm things I have. We, South Africans are not very good at this super cold weather kit. I am hoping that my family will at least be able to keep warm and cosy, while I shiver my bum off in the those mountains. Yesterday morning I had a few minutes and I did a bit of last minute shopping – thermal undies for Thandi, a new beanie for me, so I really hope we are sorted! I tested a new running jacket this morning – hmmm – the problem with all these waterproof things are that they don’t breathe properly, so your sweat stays on your clothes and you get wet and therefore cold… so I am undecided about it currently. I think I will take all my warm gear along and decide while I am there. I also got some of those little pocket warmer/hand warmer things – hope they work well!

Ok, so here goes nothing – I’m going to go and lap up the experience, I will remain appropriately terrified, but looking forward to a bucket list experience. I recently read a blog that resonated with me, while we all experience shame about DNF’s and DNS’s (did not finish/start), I am aiming for a DNQ (did not quit).


…turns me into a grumpasaurus. Grrr! I intended to run this morning, but it was so foul weather wise – hectic wind and cold, that the entire group cancelled. my day is not looking like promising in terms of getting a run in later, so it looks like I will have to try to sneak one in tomorrow morning… or maybe just Thursday… hmmm…

In other news, the new IT system is nice, but it is taking us a while to get sorted out – all our patients have to be reloaded on the system, there is no copy function to transfer all the data from 1 system to the other; so every patient is like a new patient again. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, forcing everyone to update their files, but it takes time, and leaves people frustrated! Patients, staff and us doctors!