Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Branching out from knitting

Spring has fully sprung (although the temperatures have not risen as high as we would like), and I've been branching out from my sendentary winter pursuits (consisting primarily of knitting, knitting and more knitting). Now that the incessant rains of the past winter have mostly stopped, I've been able to pick up my spring and summer pursuits, namely running and gardening.

Running


I've been training to run in the Oxford Town and Gown, a 10k race raising money for muscular dystrophy.

This will be my first 10k - I trained for the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow last October, but wasn't able to participate due to travel plans. I was in pretty good shape last autumn, but I tend to lose motivation over winter. I didn't start running again until March (when the daily rains finally cleared up), and have only managed relatively short runs once or twice a week. So I'm not expecting to make very good time, but I might just be able to run the whole race, albeit very slowly.

I don't particularly like doing these sorts of fund raising activities, because I think it is more efficient for people to pick a charity and donate by monthly direct debit. But training for organised runs is the best way to motivate myself to exercise, so I reluctantly join in. If anyone feels compelled to donate, please visit my team's page. Go team COMPAS!

Gardening


My allotment was completely under water, not once, but twice this winter.



Sadly, I lost a whole bed of cabbage and kale, and my herb bed was mostly decimated, as was the rhubarb. Fortunately the asparagus survived, and we enjoyed our first three stalks the other day. You are not supposed to harvest from new plants for several years, and I had to replenish the bed with new plants every year because they kept dying off, so unless we stay on in Oxford another year, we won't be able enjoy any more. Let's just hope whoever inherits my allotment likes asparagus.


The best asapargus I have ever tasted!

For the past few years our vegetable harvests have been relatively poor, due to winter floods and summer droughts. So I have learned to lower my expectations, and don't have very high hopes for this year. Instead of spending a lot of money on plants that might not produce much of anything, I decided to use up random seeds left over from last year. I've managed to sprout some tomatoes, cucumbers and delicata squash on a sunny window.




The garden itself is mostly just growing weeds. I'm going to try to put in some serious gardening time over the upcoming May Day bank holiday weekend. And maybe also fit in a long run. I've discovered that gardening is a great way to stretch out the tight muscles I'm getting from running!