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Archive for July, 2011

My top tip for today – if you ever want to get great service and great food – make sure you go with a friend who is also a great food critic and journalist.

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A huge congratulations to Jane, Catherine, Amanda and Amanda for successfully completing the Trailwalker 2011 challenge.

Trailwalker UK 2011 is the original 100km team challenge, across the South Downs with the Gurkhas. Four people, one goal, 100 kilometres in under 30 hours. An incredible experience combining endurance, navigation, determination and teamwork and that’s just the support crews!

The team were raising money for Oxfam – make a donation here.

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Slapton Sands Slog

Had a meal and a few beers with some friends from work on Thursday night.  Only one week into my sabbatical but there were a few comments about just how relaxed I looked.  I did let on I was still getting up at 4.30am every day out of habit, but instead of finishing reports or proposals I was either editing my new blog or out for a run or a ride on the bike.  They were horrfied!  Truth is, I have always loved the mornings.  There is something quite special about being up when you think noone else is.  A chance to steal a march on the world, the ultimate “me time”.

“So what are you up to tomorrow morning?” they asked.  Well I was planning to be up at 4am and heading off to Slapton Sands in Devon to go for a couple of days paddling with Geoff who I met on the Isles of Scilly.  A nicer guy you could not wish to meet.  Tanya climbed out of bed as well to help me manouver the kayak out of the front garden and onto the Landie and to see me off.

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What better way to spend the first day of a year-long sabbatical.  Got up at 4am, but instead of climbing into a pile of emails, I climbed into the car and drove down the A3 and headed for Hayling Island with the sea kayak.  (Stopped off for a pee at the Liphook services on the way – by far the cleanest and most pleasant service station toilets I have ever visited!).  I launched near the fun fair mid way along the south coast.  Perfect conditions for a very gentle paddle – 18 degrees, force 3/4 from NW, 10KM visibility, negligible swell.  As I set off I took few minutes to watch the sail boats out in the Solent over towards Cowes.  Would have been a great day for a crossing – but maybe later in July!

Tried out my new gadget on this trip too – the Garmin Etrex.  Which told me that 14.1 miles and 3hrs and 38mins later I had completed the circumnavigation.  Thought that was enough work to justify a cheese ham toastie before heading back into London in time to watch Andy Murray lose to Nadal.  A traditional Wimbledon summer then.

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The wind was unusually strong for the time of year

For years the idea of taking a sabbatical from my great job and some wonderful colleagues was unthinkable.  Until now that is.   We’ve taken the plunge…….SO WHAT NOW?

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D-Day!

It is D-Day!  The first day of a year-long sabbatical for Tanya (my wife) and me.  A chance to do all of the things some of the things we have always wanted to do (and some of the things we probably haven’t even thought of yet).  One of those things is to blog.  So welcome to my first post on my first blog!  In this and subsequent posts I hope to be able to bring you news of all the things we get up to on our year off.

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