Rants and raves #39

**Disclaimer: I’m going to apologise in advance, this selection of rants and raves may be even more ranty than usual. Sometimes when life isn’t great, it’s good to write things down and to have a good old rant. It’s just unfortunately that I seem to find communicating with people on the internet easier than talking to my own family. As always, all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Hundreds of far less negative running blogs are available**

Good morning, I hope that whoever reads this blogging masterpiece is having an awesome week. My week hasn’t been great, but hopefully by the time this is published I’ll be heading down to Wallingford to spend some time with my old team.

Rave: The running community

Apologies for starting with a repeat rave, but over the last couple of months I’ve really appreciated the support of the running community. I’ve received supportive comments on here, on Instagram and on Twitter; you know who you are so “thank-you” xx

Volunteering at parkrun has become an important part of my weekend routine. For a couple of hours each Saturday morning I get to forget about the shit that is going on in my life. This is going to sound cheesy, but I’m guaranteed to leave parkrun with a smile on my face. Supporting others enables me to briefly escape from my problems.

Running community

When parkrunners thank me for volunteering, I find myself thanking them for getting out of bed on a Saturday morning and taking part. At the end of the day, without these runners, joggers and walkers, there wouldn’t be a parkrun!

Rant: Virgin Media

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I sent a few slightly grumpy tweets to Virgin Media. I also spent hours on hold waiting to talk to so-called ‘technical experts’ and lost count of the number of times I checked the service status page. Virgin Media

[Source]

This page regularly told porkie pies and stated that there weren’t any faults when there were. I may be wrong, but I suspect this is a way of avoiding compensating customers for a loss of service. A quick Google search on my phone – it’s a good job I have a generous data allowance – made me realise that a lot of people were having similar issues.

After five days of intermittent unusable broadband and TV – guess who wasn’t able to watch much of the Ashes! – the temporary fault was finally fixed. I actually bumped into an engineer and was informed that the junction box on my road had been impacted by the recent lightening. Virgin Media were aware of this the morning after it happened so I’ve no idea why they weren’t just upfront with people from the start.

Fingers crossed everything seems to be working now. I’m counting down the days until my £135/month contract comes to an end and I can switch to something a little cheaper.

Rave: I’m famous…sort of!

Have you heard of Blogosphere Magazine? I’ll let you into a secret, I hadn’t until I received an email from the Commissioning editor of the magazine asking if they could share this post in their next issue. I said yes and was then asked to answer a few questions about my blog.issue21_Cover

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I don’t want to sound too braggy, but seeing my waffle in print does feel quite satisfying. It’s just a shame I wrote so much, Blogosphere Magazine didn’t manage to squeeze in one of my high quality, iphone photos.

Rant: The M&S Little Shop promotion

I spent a couple of mostly enjoyable festive periods working for M&S as a Christmas temp. I got to learn about Plan A and the environmental ambitions of the company, and spent a lot of time preparing boxes and other packaging for recycling. I wouldn’t work for my current employer – the clue is in the name of the organisation – if I didn’t care about the environment.

The majority of people now seem to have ‘woken-up’ to the fact that climate change is real and that we need to act now. The issue of plastics in the environment is a hot topic and a lot of companies are doing their best to cut down on single-use plastic.M&S Collectables

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So, I’m sure you can imagine I wasn’t overly impressed when I popped into my local M&S Food Hall to buy something for dinner, and was asked by a lovely lady at the checkout if anyone in my family was taking part in the Little Shop promotion. I said I didn’t know what this promotion was, and was pointed in the direction of a huge display I’d somehow not noticed on my way into the store. I didn’t expect to see a display of 25 small plastic toy models of random food products.

I’ve no idea who in M&S thought that running this promotion would be a good idea. Judging by what I’ve seen on social media, the vast majority of people agree with me. And yes, I haven’t just complained on here, I used some of my ‘contacts’ in M&S to send in a complaint email.

Rave: Events that allow race number transfers

I suspect that most runners have entered and subsequently ‘DNS’ a race due to injury, illness, hangovers etc. I’ve lost count of the number of races I’ve DNS and I’m more than a little reluctant to work out how much money I’ve wasted this year. Most races don’t allow race transfers and I don’t like the idea of unofficially swapping numbers. This means that in several oversubscribed races, my place has gone unused.Race entry

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I understand that smaller races simply don’t have the resources to operate a waiting list and official system of transferring numbers. I understand that the larger events, I’m talking London Marathon size, allow for people not making it to the start line and over allocate places in the ballot. I’m also guilty of not reading the T&C’s and small print when I enter a race.

Opps, this rave has turned into a bit of a rant, sorry. Earlier this year I entered what I thought would be an amazing final marathon; Snowdonia Marathon Eryri. I knew that I probably wouldn’t make it to the start of the marathon, but ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’.

I finally gave up on my marathon dream a month ago. Thanks to the race organisers operating an official entry transfer system, I was able to transfer my number to a different runner who had missed out when entries originally opened. I also got my entry fee back. Let’s hope that more race organisers start to do the same.

Rant: Out of control dogs

This may well be another repeat rant but after another dog-related incident in Sutton Park, I feel the need to have a written rant.

Please picture this scenario… you are walking across a field when you spot a couple walking two dogs. The dogs look and sound a bit what I’d describe as ‘scary’ but you don’t worry because they are both on leads. You are also at least 150m away from the dogs and walking away from them. A couple of moments later you become aware of a barking noise and realise that one of the dogs is running straight towards you, growling and acting aggressively. The owners call the dogs name but it takes no notice and starts circling you and then jumping up at you. You are wearing running shorts rather than trousers so this is quite painful.

Suspicious-dog

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I found myself in this situation on Saturday. I was walking back from parkrun minding my own business and I found myself ‘wearing’ a dog on my leg. Awesome! Luckily, I had my phone with me so I not only recorded what was happening, I also took photos of the owners and made a note of their car details. When I got home, I filled in the relevant form on Birmingham City Council’s website.

I doubt very much that anything will happen but I’ve reached the stage I’m reluctant to walk through my local park. I know other runners, walkers and dog walkers have encountered similar incidents. While I’m lucky the dog didn’t puncture my skin, the next person might not be so lucky or may even be a small child.

And finally, a bonus music rave as I know how much people love my rather random taste in music…

Rave: 80s freestyle music

Let me introduce you to this amazing 1980s freestyle mix.

As for this masterpiece of music, I spent most of the day listening to it while I was working.

I’ve said it before, but I sometimes wish that I could travel back in time to the 1980s. I could listen to cheesy music all day.

If you’ve reached the end of this selection of rants and raves, then as always “thank-you”. I hope that you think my rants were reasonable. As always, I do feel much better now that I’ve shared my grumbles with you.

Do you find yourself avoiding certain running routes because of dogs? I’m getting to the stage I don’t even want to walk through certain areas of Sutton Park.

Do you have a favourite type of music? I play the violin and oboe so grew up listening to and playing classical music. I now love all sorts of music; classical, trance, dance, 80’s cheese, rock. You name it, I’ll probably listen to it.

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