Charlie's Bird

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

Archive for September, 2017

The Loch Ness Marathon

…what a marathon. What a setting! What weather! How humbling!

Guys, I was in so much trouble, I knew that before I even pulled on my running shoes. My training was not up to speed, getting sick 3 weeks before the run did not help matters, but I was determined to have the experience. I only wish I hadn’t been so distracted by my (un)fitness and discomfort. Anyway. My race report follows.

So they asked that we catch a bus from the finish which would take us to the start. 7:30 the buses departed; 8:30 they arrived at the start. It was freezing. Icy cold wind, rain, fog; entirely miserable! And then we waited for that start at 10am. Oy! 

It was really miserable. I mentioned to someone that in South Africa we cancel raves when conditions are this bad, to which they replied that this was when they run them in Wales! 
Anyway, they lined us up 

And we were off. The first 5km went nicely. A long easy downhill, with no major drama.  The next 5km were fine, I was enjoying it all; but I knew in my heart of hearts that 42 was going to. E a long ask. By 21km, I was ready to ne done. It was the slowest 21 I’d run in years; and I realized precisely how deep I was going to have to dig. 

Repeating all the mantras I knew, I reached out to my running group via what’s app – don’t you love how small the global village is? With care, motivation, cheering and some tough love they got me to that finish line. It was not pretty, it was not my finest hour. But I did it. 

And now I will have a rest from running, regroup and get my head right to face the next set of challenges. 

1 week 

…into my holiday. 

Madrid was intense – the congress was outstanding, but all consuming. I got to meet some amazing people, listened to some mind blowing talks – pregnancy success after uterine transplant; artificial wombs; gene programming and resetting. The future is arriving far faster than I ever imagined. 

I sadly did not get to see anything of Madrid, but the glimpses I got seemed lovely – one day I will go back and hopefully have a better time with airport security than I did this time. (Profiled and screened for drugs – really?) 

A night out on the town – Place Orientalewith Anna from Copenhagen! I’m 
The conference came to a conclusion and it was time for me to whip across to Edinburgh to finally meet my family. Yay. I’m blown away by how different it was traveling without them. Really missed them. Especially I suspect because it was a foreign language country. I felt quite isolated. 

Planes, buses and a walk and finally we were reunited! A quick dinner, bed and my equilibrium felt restored. 

Saturday we picked up the hire car and then we were off to Inverness. To all those Saffers who moan about our country – there were occasional potholes, and a fair amount of litter on the verges. There were roadworks and delays… but we made it there in one piece. 

I registered, and we found the Nessie. 

Thandi had a great jump on this cool trampoline contraption, but at £5 for about 10minutes, it was a little dear. 

We checked into our accommodation and I headed off for a leg loosener. What a gorgeous run. I couldn’t stop smiling! 

This post is getting a bit long, so tomorrow I will share the painfest that was my marathon. 

Madrid day 1

Checked in to the lounge at homeboarding my domestic flight to JHBboarding my flight to Madridready to congress! 

After a long day of traveling, I have arrived at my hotel, I’ve had a shower,  a snooze, some lunch and now my congress is about to begin. 

I have yet to see anything of Madrid, it was dark when I arrived, but we are going to dinner tonight in Old Madrid. I’m impatient to see some of this city! 


more sleep! Whoop! Whoop!

But first to get through today, which I suspect is going to be brutal. I have already done a caesar for twins and have an induction on the go for a patient with hypertension, so lots of babies today!

We were so blessed this weekend. It rained and poured and rained and poured some more, and then it rained a little more. It was so good. Especially since Charlie had top dressed the lawn and beds last week, so the garden lapped it all up. I was on call, it was reasonable; just a few frustrating calls, but I got through that. Whenever it rains, I feel a baking day come on – Thandi and I made Strawberry Milkshake cupcakes.


It was my first attempt at a recipe from one of the The Hummingbird Bakery books – It was a nice easy recipe, the cupcake had a good crumb, and the flavour was entirely reminiscent of childhood. You use strawberry nesquick to get the flavour – the cake is subtle, the icing less so, but as I said, a childhood flavour that warmed my heart on a cold and rainy day!

Last night I also tried another first – a chicken and prawn curry from Peter Goffe-Woods’ book A Life Digested. It was subtly flavoured, so mild enough for Thandi to eat and enjoy, but flavoursome enough that we enjoyed it. I made 3 errors though – I bought par cooked (1) prawns with their shells on (2). The first bag I threw in as they were, with the water that accumulated as they defrosted (3), so I think I did dilute my sauce a little. I then shelled the second bag, and froze my fingers because they were still cold; I then decided I had to shell the ones I’d already thrown into the pot, which were hotter than if Satan had prepped them in hell; so then I burnt those finger tips. Flip! So I will definitely make it again, reduce my sauce a bit more before adding the protein; and get raw, shelled prawns next time, which I’ll drain before I throw them in!

Packing is coming along – Thandi is virtually done – I have even packed her activities backpack, but that is a surprise for her to enjoy on the plane. I might give her the camera tonight, just so I can see how excited she is about it – I can already hear it, “Oh my Gosh! That is so cool!” Tonight I sort out the last few things for me, and I am rocking and rolling!


…not seals, not doof-doof music, but book! Last night was fun – I cooked up my Bavarain feast – obazda and pretzels (a creamy camembert cheese spread/dip); käsespätzle (german macaroni cheese) with a green salad and a cucumber dill salad and then (non german) cinnabons for dessert. A carb fest without a doubt, but super delicious! It was nice to see the girls again, and there was lots of catching up, lots of news, lots of scandal. I did enjoy that.

I also managed to get 2 hours of painting in yesterday…

So, it’s just awaiting my signature, but its done! And I started on my next one. I have really loved getting back into the painting. I find it fills me with joy to see something come together on the canvas. I had forgotten how much joy it gives.

And with that, there are 4 more sleeps…



more sleeps! Flip there is a lot to do before I leave, but I am slowly turning my to do list into a ta dah list! All our documents are in order – my flip file is done, itinerary typed up, Thandi is just finishing a picture for the front of it. Packing lists are being finalised. Most of the forex stuff is sorted. I am getting there. Winning!

Today I am hosting book club – I will be presenting a bavarian feast once again – can you tell I am missing my German friends? So this afternoon I’ll be preparing for that, then I am going to shoot to my art class, I am desperate for some creative time – I wish I could spend all day painting? But I don’t feel confident enough to go on without my teacher yet, so I have to be patient with myself. And after a few hours there, it’ll be back home to host the girls! Should fill my bucket to get through the next few nights on call this weekend.


…more sleeps! EEEEEEEEK! Madrid and Scotland, here I come!

I am slowly getting everything together that we need – I’m making lists, checking them twice, he’ll know who has been naughty and nice – oops, wrong season! Thandi’s activity bag is basically done – travel journal; colouring books, some travel games, new pencil case with all the goodies, her iPad and her big treat – she doesn’t know yet – an instax camera. It’s kinda like the old fashioned polaroid, except this one is made by fujifilm – you load this papery film in – and take the picture, the paper comes out the top and over the next 30-60 seconds, the picture develops, so cool! I think she’ll have fun with it. We are just going to have to have a limit to how many pictures we take a day – 70 possibles.

On the admin side, I have collated 95% of our documents, drawn up a pretty itinerary and put it all in a flip file. Passports are all done; forex is ordered.

I am starting to feel it, can you?