Saturday, 27 May 2023

Glass Bead Colour Samples


Once my glass studio was all set up, the first thing I did was order some glass to use.  Glass for making lampwork beads come in rods about the thickness of a pencil but a bit longer.  While the names are very pretty I didn't really know what they would look like so I went with two bundles one transparent and one opaque.


This gave me just under 100 rods of different coloured glass to play with.


Seeing as I hadn't made beads since last September I decided to make a bead of each colour.  This would allow me to practice making beads and keeping them all a similar size, while giving me a sample of each colour to help with future projects.  (Some glass looks different once its been heated.)


It took me 4 batches to do all of them, then I had to give them each a little label and lastly take some photos.

Firstly I'm amazed at quite how many lovely colours there are!  But also I'm very please how similar I managed to make most of them. This is an important skill if you are trying to make matching beads for jewerly for instance.

Now I've got my samples I can work out which colours will work well together and what I should buy more of, as a single rod doesn't go far.  Decisions, decisions!


Sunday, 21 May 2023

South Downs Way - Part Two


This weekend I continued my run of the South Downs Way and the training for my race with my longest ever run of 26.4 miles.

'im outdoors dropped me off at QECP and I joined the path where I had stopped last time, and followed it all the way to Amberley where he picked me up 6 hours later.


It was a cold start and I thought it would be another one like last week, however by mile 5 my jumper was off and I was starting to wish I was wearing shorts rather than leggings and as I started to run on chalk paths I also wished for my sunglasses to deal with the glare.

It was a beautiful day and a great day to be running this famous path.  It helped that there was about 99% less mud than last week!


While there had been some big hills in the first part, there were some monsters on this one.  The sort where you have to be careful going down then have to walk back up the other side.  But the countryside was stunning.  A mix of woodland and farmland and towards the end hazy views out to the sea.


The other thing I really enjoyed was crossing roads that I know quite well, to finally find out where the path goes.  I've looked at those signs saying South Downs Way for years and promised myself I would do it one day and here I am doing it.


Compared with many of the trails I've done there were a lot more people on this one.  Many bikes and walkers and the odd runner.  I'd have loved to be able to ask each one where they had come from and where they were going.  Some I'm sure were just walking their dog on their local track, but others were obviously doing the same as me, but I wanted to know details.  Did they have a whole week to do it or were they using their weekends like me?  So many questions.

In theory 2 more long runs will finish it, but the start and end points will be much further from home now, so I will have to speak very nicely to 'im outdoors to see if he's willing to drive that far and spend hours waiting for me. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 14 May 2023

Slow Way - Altpet


 Another long run training day and seeing as we were already going to be near Alton, I asked 'im outdoors to drop me there so I could do the Alton to Petersfield Slow Way.


It was a cold grey day and not very inspiring.  It was quite mild until the wind blew and then it was proper cold, and the wind didn't really stop, so I kept my jumper on.

The route was actually quite nice except for a short bit on a fast road near Chawton.


However we've had a lot of rain this week and the mud was terrible in places!  To the point where it stole my shoe!!  And there were 2 miles where I had to walk for pretty much the whole thing (40 mins) and I found that really hard.  I just didn't seem to make any progress and just had to squlch through all this mud - soul destroying!


But where the mud let up the route wasn't bad.  I did get covered in yellow pollen as I followed footpaths across bight yellow fields of rapeseed.  And I saw lots of runners coming the other way doing the Emsworth to Basingstoke charity relay.  And I went up and over the Shoulder of Mutton using the Hangers Way.  No way you can run this in either direction it's so steep, but the view from the top was very impressive and the sun was just starting to come out too which helped. 


Once I got to Petersfield I then continued home to take my miles up to the required 20.  I was tired and moving slowly but that didn't stop it from hurting when I tripped and hit the dirt.  I was very close to calling 'im outdoors for a pick up at that point.  But with only 2 miles to go, I somehow found a little energy to pick myself up, dust off the worst of the mud and keep going.  I'm glad I did now, but it was a very hard call at the time.  Luckily as I was going so slow at the time I only scuffed my arm a bit and bruised my knee.

So another long run ticked off and only 4 big runs left until race day.  I look forward to getting them ticked off my list. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Fixing My Jeans


I wouldn't normally bother to post about a small fix to a hole in a pair of jeans.  However, I tried something a little different this time.  Rather than just patching the hole I added a little decoration, and I have to say I'm rather please with how it turned out. 


Normally when I see things like this on the internet and have a go for myself, I don't get quite the same effect, but for once its turned out just as I wanted.

While I've sewn a patch inside the jeans the little stars just help to secure it and add a tiny little detail which now makes these jeans kinda special.

I'm looking forward to making my next repair, although I'm pretty sure 'im outdoors won't want anything like this on his work trousers.

Sunday, 7 May 2023

The Glass Studio


Last year I attended a couple of lampwork bead making classes at West Dean College, and fell in love.  After much discussion with 'im outdoors, he agreed to make me a small studio at the bottom of the garden so I could continue safely at home (where I was planning to house some chickens.  Sorry chickens).

I found a couple of sash windows and a pair of french doors on Facebook marketplace and we spend an afternoon driving round to collect them.  With these in place we knew how big we could build the studio and a plan was created.


Over the autumn 'im outdoors built it and over the winter fitted it out for me, with a work bench and storage.  And then electric was fitted.

I'd found a small kiln on Facebook and bought other bits and bobs needed so just had to order my oxgyen concentrator and torch, only to find that there were massive delays in oxgyen concentrators across the country!


As you can imagine my disappointment was huge (luckily I had a few runs to keep me occupied).  In the end I waited 3 months for them to arrive.  I could have hugged the poor delivery driver when they turned up.


We then spent a couple of hours in the studio getting things set up and I was good to go.  I was very grateful of a bank holiday weekend to spend a bit of time playing and checking everything worked as expected.

Except for programming the kiln to hold its temperature for 4 minutes instead of 4 hours everything seemed to work perfectly.


My head, and sketchbook are full of ideas I'd like to try and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can achieve.  And I've created an instagram account so I can quickly share photos of the beads as I make them.

Saturday, 29 April 2023

South Downs Way - Part One


I've wanted to do the South Downs Way for ages.  Walking or running, I wanted to try completing the full 102 miles.  It would be an epic adventure.  But I could never work out the logistics and so I kept putting it off.


But now I'm getting into some really long training runs for my race in July, it seemed like the perfect time to do it.  So this bank holiday weekend I made a start.

Where Google says it officially starts

We were up nice and early and 'im outdoors dropped me off in Winchester next to the cathedral and off I went.  It's really well sign posted, but you have to be careful as there are slightly different routes in place for walkers and for cyclists, and it's not alway clear which one is which.  Saying that, most of it is a shared path so I did have to very aware of those around me as the cyclists I encountered didn't always give you any warning and could come by very quickly. 

This route also included a bit I'd run last week for Slow Way Corpet.  It was interesting to see what difference a week and some sunshine could make.  It was much busier than last week and the fields had turned yellow as the rape seed flowers came out.


23 miles and nearly 5 hours later 'im outdoors picked me up from QECP and I was very glad of the sit down.


It was a lovely run, if a bit hilly (but to be expected) and to run in shorts and t-shirt for the first time this year was wonderful.  And I even managed to keep my feet dry for once, although there were a few muddy puddles to contend with. The veiws from the top of the hills while a little hazy were fab and it was wonderful to hear so many larks singing.  

I really enjoyed this run and so I'm looking forward to doing more of the South Downs Way in the coming weeks.  I'll be interested to see how the landscape changes as I go.  


Sunday, 23 April 2023

Slow Way - Corpet


 This weeks long training run was a little shorter so I used a Slow Way for my route.  

I started in Corhampton and ran to Petersfield, then just kept going to get home and my desired mileage.


If I'm honest I'm not really sure why it starts in Corhampton.  There isn't much there except a pub and a reasonably well stocked Post Office.

However the route was really nice, helped along by a lovely spring morning.  By mile 5 my jumper was off and I was wondering if I should have gone with my lighter leggings or maybe even shorts!  And I saw my first swallow of the year.


The route uses a chunk of the South Downs Way, which was nicely sign posted, I just had to look out for when to turn off.  And I don't think I really got lost at all.


There were lots of sheep and some new calfs who were very bouncy, and I did get wet feet which was annoying, but I'm still in black socks so could be worse.

This week I was trying out Bloks energy chews, which were ok, but took a bit more chewing than jelly babies.  I also had some of my homemade flapjack, which didn't seem to mind being frozen at all, and some trailwind. 


So a good run, and one I may do again.  My only concen, that I'm starting to get a tan even though we haven't had any proper sunshine!  Maybe it's just rust. 


Sunday, 16 April 2023

The Shipwrights Way - Part Three


Yesterday I ran the second part of the Shipwrights Way - 20 miles from Petersfield to Hayling Island.  Today I was back at Hayling to finish it off.

There wasn't much to go, just 5 miles along the sea front at Southsea.  But first I had to get there, which meant taking the ferry from the tip of Hayling over to the tip of Southsea.  A three minute journey.


Once there I found myself in the middle of the bike part of a triathlon!  Before getting onto the sea front and dodging all the dog walkers and other runners.  I managed to catch a bit of the run part of the triathlon too!

It was a mild day but cloudy and calm.  I'd bought my cap today and it was just right, with no sea breeze trying to steal it.

And once I'd finished the Way, I turned round and ran back, to get the ferry back to my car on Hayling.

It was quite a nice run, and I managed to keep quite a good pace as I had an eye on the time and a ferry to catch to get home.  And across the two days I've now pretty much run the distance I'll be racing in July.  I'm hoping a bit more training will make me feel better about doing the full distance in one day!


I'm glad I've run the Shipwright's Way, it's been on my list for ages, but I'm not sure I'll want to do it again any time soon, it's just a little too urban for my liking.

Now I need to decide what trail I'll be running next week.