Rants and raves #34

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post after spending the morning at the dentist, again. My debit card has taken a bit of a battering.  I’m also still not completely recovered from the lurgy and Wolves have just lost. As a result, this blog may be even more moany than usual if that’s possible. As always, all moans groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other, far less negative running blogs are available**

Rave: The weather

I’m loving the weather at the moment; sunny but quite chilly mornings and gorgeous afternoons. On Thursday, it was mild enough for me to enjoy my first outdoors pint of the year after work. Although the weather isn’t meant to be great this week – I guess it’s time for some good old April showers – the forecast for next weekend looks reasonable.Spring 2019I just need to start running again sooner rather than later because at the moment I’m feeling incredibly unfit. I don’t want a repeat of a few years ago when I started running after a longish injury break and struggled because it was so warm.

Rant: EE network coverage

A rather random rant, but I’ve reached the stage I’ve had enough of EE. Someone told me that EE was formerly known as ‘Everything Everywhere’. I personally think EE should be called NA ‘Nothing Anywhere’. I do wonder how bad other networks are if EE keep winning this.EE best network


My EE phone doesn’t tend to work in my office. This is incredibly frustrating when I need to check my personal email account (we aren’t allowed to access hotmail at work) and when someone tries to contact me. My phone lies and tells me it has 4G signal, the second I try to send a text the signal mysteriously disappears and the dreaded ‘No Signal’ appears on the screen.

My phone also doesn’t work for most of the journey between Oxford and Leamington Spa, in large areas of Four Oaks and in my house. Network coverage used to be a million times better, I’ve no idea why it is now so bad. And to think there are plans to install a 4G network on the Moon. I can’t wait to escape from EE when my contract ends in June.

Rave: Feedback from people who read this blog

Like most bloggers, I do sometimes wonder if people actually read my waffle. My blogging stats haven’t been that great recently, possibly because I haven’t had much to say. I was thrilled when Paul contacted me completely out of the blue to say they had found this running blog, and that my blog injected some welcome reality into things.

Thanks for taking the time to contact me Paul, your lovely feedback made my day. I’m hopeful that normal service will resume once I am up and running again!

Rant: My right knee

My fragile right knee has been incredibly painful – 9/10 on my niggleometer – for a couple of weeks now. Frustrating when the lurgy means that I haven’t been able to run recently. The ‘did not starts’ are starting to frustrate me, there’s no way I’m even going to attempt the Cathedral to Castle 10 mile run on Sunday, last year I ended the race with a knee injury.

I had hoped that a break from running would help my right knee settle down and get better, if anything it seems to be more painful the longer I don’t run. I can’t avoid using it as I have to walk to and from the office Monday to Friday. I’ve been following the strengthening routine a sports physio gave me a couple of years ago and have been wearing a knee support. I’m rapidly running out of ideas…

Rave: The Old Post Office

I have a new favourite drinking establishment in Wallingford. After a couple of not so positive experiences, the Boat House has been relegated into second place and The Old Post Office promoted to first place.

As an added bonus, the food in The Old Post Office is amazing. It’s just a shame it’s a tad on the expensive side, definitely more of an occasional treat. I’m still not completely sure how two of us managed to spend £70 in there a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t even feeling tipsy when I left.

Rant: The Oxford Half Marathon ballot

With the exception of the London Marathon et al, I struggle with the concept of races having ballots. Races should be first come first served. I was more than a little surprised when a colleague told me that the Oxford Half was now ballot entry. I mean the Oxford Half didn’t even sell out in 2018. They also had an issue with medals; the complaints on social media were pretty impressive. I can only assume they held a ballot to encourage people to enter and to hype the event up.Oxford Half ballot


I don’t know of anyone who entered who didn’t get a place through the ballot. I know some people didn’t get in via the first round of invites, but predictably they got a place via the second round of invites. I won’t complain about the price. Let’s just hope the medals arrive in time for the race this year.

Rave: Wolverhampton Wanderers

I know I’ve said it before, but after a few not very enjoyable seasons, I’m really enjoying being a Wolves supporter. I would love to be able to say that I’m heading down to the FA Cup Semi-Final on Sunday but I’m not. I’ve donated my ticket to a good friend who has never experienced the new(ish) Wembley.WolvesI just hope that he manages to get on the right train to London Euston, manages to find Wembley, and that Wolves put on a decent performance. If they get hammered by Watford it will be a disappointing day out for Wolves.

Rant: CrossCountry Trains

And while on the subject of trains, I want to rant about CrossCountry trains. I won’t complain about the fact most of their trains are overcrowded and quite clearly not designed for passengers with longer than average legs. I won’t complain about the fact that 90 per cent of the trains I catch on a Friday arrive into Birmingham New Street late. I do want to complain about the fact CrossCountry trains now charge £1 for the privilege(?) of having paper rather than e-tickets. When I contacted CrossCountry to ask why, this was part of their response: 

CrossCounty always offer a free method of fulfilment, and the £1 collection fee for collecting your tickets at a station is only chargeable where an m-Ticket or e-Ticket is available.

E-Tickets are easier to collect due to how flexible they are, you get four options for showing your ticket so you can save time queuing at the train station or waiting for your tickets to arrive in the post. You can show the PDF on your smartphone, print at home/work, send to Apple Wallet or use our Train Tickets app where your ticket will be visible in your wallet.”

I’m quite happy queuing at the train station for a couple of minutes to collect my tickets. I’d rather have paper tickets as I know they (1) will open the barriers at Oxford station, (2) will open the barriers at Birmingham New Street station, (3) don’t rely on having phone signal to actually work, (4) don’t rely on me having phone battery, (5) mean that I don’t have to risk dropping my phone when I’m already struggling to carry a couple of large bags and (6) are far more convenient.

And finally, I’m afraid I’m going to finish with a bonus rant…

Rant: Me!

I’ve been feeling incredibly gloomy and completely lacking in motivation for a couple of weeks now. Although not knowing where I’ll be living and working when my temporary contract ends probably isn’t helping, I’m blaming my gloominess on not being able to run. I’m definitely more positive when I can run. I’ve been struggling at work and have stopped enjoying my job. Getting out of bed each morning and heading into the office has been a chore. I haven’t felt like blogging and have struggled to find the motivation to write. Most evenings, I get back to my room; have a lengthy nap and then waste time watching TV.

I’ve got a job interview later this week and to be honest I don’t feel very well prepared. I don’t even know if I want the job, I just felt like I needed to apply for it as it’s a permanent position nearer to Four Oaks. Hopefully I’ll start to feel a bit more positive when I know what I’ll be doing when my temporary contract ends. Running will also help.

If you’ve reached the end of this selection of random rants and raves, then a huge ‘thank-you’. I’m not sure I would have made it to the end. I hope that you think that my rants were reasonable. As always, I do feel better now that I’ve shared my moans and groans on here.

Do you have any recommendations for mobile phone providers? After 15+ years, I’ve had enough of Orange/EE. I’m just worried they are all equally as bad.

Do you agree with races holding ballots or do you think it should be first come first served? I can understand why races like the London, Chicago and Berlin Marathons hold ballots. I struggle with the concept of smaller races holding ballots.


10 thoughts on “Rants and raves #34

  1. Derek Lee says:

    Hi Emma,
    Another balanced and cathartic collection of rants and raves! Be assured you are not alone in your struggles. I am also in the running doldrums. The trouble is getting caught in a vicious circle – feeling a bit low mentally/physically, finding reasons not to run or undertake other cross-training activities, then feeling low because you miss out on the mental and physical benefits of running. I had a little boost a few weeks ago when I secured a charity place for the Great North Run, but I have not even publicised this yet nor set-up my fundraising page.
    The answer? Patience. Self-compassion. Small targets – I did a gentle, flat 4km run a couple of weeks ago and felt good, even though my fitness levels have slipped. But I still need to update The good news? They recover!! But I still need to update my neglected blog.
    Good luck on the job front – the uncertainty must be a worry and contributory factor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Derek, thanks for your kind comment. I do enjoy writing my rants and raves posts and always feel better when I’ve had a good old moan. I’m really sorry you are also in the running doldrums, it’s definitely a vicious circle. I’m missing running a lot at the moment as I always feel a lot better afterwards. Hopefully I’ll be back up and running so to speak sooner rather than later. My right knee is starting to feel a bit better, probably a 5/10 on my niggleometer. I had to miss my job interview due to illness, I have submitted a couple more applications today so hopefully I’ll get another interview. I think part of my problem is I don’t actually know what to do with my life!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol P says:

    Job interview coming up (hello inferiority complex!), running injury, dentist, lurgy… no wonder you’re feeling down. Port you.

    Time to get some tests/scans done on the knee.

    How’s the spending/saving/spreadsheet going? Is moderating drinking still as hard as it always was for me?

    Do some reading of phone plans from the provider websites, and then look at their coverage maps and network. In Australia I know lots of providers use the two (or three) tower networks and those have less priority than the networks service themselves.

    I’m in Australia and haven’t encountered a running event ballot, so can boastfully claim I would never enter a race like that, even though I’m not sure why they piss me off except because I will never qualify for Boston, London, etc. 😀


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Carol. The lurgy meant that I didn’t make it to my job interview. I didn’t think spending an hour coughing and struggling to breathe in an interview was sensible, I’ve applied for a couple more jobs so hopefully I’ll get another interview. I have been feeling a bit gloomy for a few weeks, I blame not being able to run.

      I’ve already had tests and scans done on my right knee. Both were inconclusive and didn’t show anything. I think most of my issues stem from the fact I have a slight leg length discrepancy. I run like a wonky donkey.

      I’m planning on keeping a track of my spending during an average week and then writing a ‘Money Diaries’ type blog. I have managed to cut back recently, my spreadsheets are definitely helping my spending. One bonus of this lurgy is that I haven’t really felt like drinking for a couple of weeks. I even stopped enjoying Diet Coke for a week.

      I’m definitely doing my mobile phone network research. I may wait and see where I’ll be working before committing to a new provider/contract.

      Australia sounds like it has a far more sensible running system. Do you enter the overseas ballot for London? I’ve not had much luck in marathon major ballots recently. I was even unsuccessful in the ballot for Berlin which is meant to be a lot easier to get in.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    I enjoy your rants and raves, and your blog in general as you “keep it real”.
    As for phone coverage, I was with vodafone for however many years and didn’t ever have a problem with coverage. I’m now with Three as the monthly data plan was way cheaper but I don’t have great coverage- it is OK for me as I don’t use it loads and at home I am on our wifi, but Andy needs his phone for work and swapped the other way to Vodafone as he was finding he couldn’t even take calls on his phone and he needed to for work.
    Ballots are so annoying- they would put me off trying to enter a race really because I’d like to know I have a place. With Cambridge I helped out one year and that meant I had guaranteed entry the next year (still had to pay).


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