Juneathon Day 30: the one where I spend some time looking back before moving on

Good morning. I hope that everyone who reads this final Juneathon blog had a fabulous weekend. I can’t believe how quickly the weekend flew by, one minute I was walking into Sutton Park for parkrun, the next I was getting my ‘stuff’ together for work. I think we should work two days a week and have five day weekends.

Yesterday, as it was the end of the month, I spent a bit of time reflecting on what happened during June.

It was definitely a month with a lot of change; I started the month living and working in Wallingford and ended the month living back at home in Four Oaks and working in Solihull. I’m missing working in the Wallingford office far more than I thought I would. I was part of a great team, and had an amazing post-work social life. I’m going to try to make it to a ‘Beer and Bants’ session ASAP. I’m still getting used to my new office, new role and working as part of a dispersed team. I’m sure that I’ll be fine once I get past the initial ‘I’ve no idea what I’m doing’ stage.

I won’t mention the morning and afternoon commute. I’ve done more than enough complaining about trains already. I don’t want this blog to turn into some sort of train woes blog. Again, I’m sure I’ll be fine once I get used to the early starts and irritating commuters.

My running – well this is meant to be a running blog – has been a bit up and down. The majority of the first half of the year was a complete write-off. I had injuries and then a severe case of overindulgence and loss of running mojo.

Thanks to the powers of volunteering at parkrun and the support of the running community, I can feel my running mojo slowly returning. I managed to run four times in June; not great but a vast improvement on April and May. Hopefully now my right knee has stopped randomly niggling, I’ll be able to start running a bit more consistently. You never know, I might actually have a go at running my local parkrun.

I think I referred to this briefly, but June was also a month of reflection. I spent a lot of time working on what will be my PhD supervisor Geoff Petts’ last ever academic paper. Most of you know Geoff unfortunately passed away last August. This paper will feature in a special issue of the journal Geoff founded back in 1987. I found switching back into what I call ‘academic mode’ quite challenging. The support and input I received from two of Geoff’s old friends and students definitely helped. I was reminded that I wasn’t alone and that help was available, I just had to ask for it.

Would I take part in Juneathon again? I’m sure a lot of people will be pleased that the answer to this question is a resounding NO! While I’m pleased I have a lot of photos from my last week in Wallingford, I don’t think my day-to-day life is interesting enough to justify another Juneathon. I found blogging every day quite time consuming and if I’m being completely honest, boring.

So, a huge thank-you to everyone who took the time to read and to comment on my Juneathon blogs. Knowing that people were reading – or at least opening the page – really helped, at times I thought about ‘quitting’ but I’m not a stubborn Taurean for nothing 😉

Random Photo from Day 30

Not a photo as such but I thought I share something useful I found on Fetcheveryone. I used the new ‘Summary & Analysis’ feature to analyse my running (or lack of running) this year.

2019 Running

Oh dear!

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 30

Can a pair of £10 running shoes pass our test, or will they destroy our feet? Anna and Kate try out these budget kicks. I found this YouTube video really interesting.

If you don’t already subscribe to the Running Channel on YouTube definitely hit the subscribe button!

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 27.36 km

Would you ever consider taking part in something similar to Juneathon? Last time I took part in Juneathon I said never again; I’ve always had a terrible memory. If I’m still blogging next May and I mention Juneathon, please point me in the direction of this post!


Juneathon Day 29: the one with parkrun volunteering and accidental cans of Punk IPA

Good morning and happy Sunday. I can’t believe it’s the last day of June and I’ve only got to write one more Juneathon update. Such a lot has happened this month. I can’t believe that at the start of the month I was living in Wallingford, it already feels like a lifetime ago.

On the penultimate day of Juneathon, the sun woke me at 06:00. I didn’t mind as the weather looked perfect and I needed to complete a couple of chores before parkrun.  Chores completed, I headed out the door at 07:30. After trying and falling to run to Banners Gate the previous week, I decided to walk as far as the Jamboree Stone, and then running the rest.

I love walking through Sutton Park when it’s quiet. My walk turned into a jog when I found myself surrounded by a swarm of tiny black flying bugs. I’ve no idea what they were, but they were irritating and seemed to find me quite tasty. I blame the heat and all the cow pats.

After running my fastest mile this year – the final mile of the parkrun route is mostly downhill – I arrived at the start feeling a little toasty. I collected a hi-viz and the finish tokens, found the lady I’d be working with, and then went and found some shade. I’d like to say my first experience of handing out tokens was straightforward but it wasn’t. One runner refused to take a token because his “time was crap”. Another runner stopped on the finish line for about 10 seconds and then complained when they weren’t handed the ‘correct’ token (a couple of people had ‘overtaken’ as they were blocking the finish line).

I’m not looking forward to time keeping next weekend! After volunteering three weeks in a row, I *may* have a go at running soon. I can feel my running mojo returning.

Once I’d walked back from parkrun, the rest of my Saturday was a far more relaxed affair. In between some housework, I seemed to spend far too much time watching cricket. I also finished off the cans of Punk IPA I was given when I left Wallingford. I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch England take on India tomorrow (today when this is published). I have a horrible feeling England will be batted and bowled off the park by India.

Random Photos from Day 29

It wouldn’t be a Saturday recap without some parkrun photos. I’ve included some photos I took on the way to the start.


Once again, I managed to avoid the race photographers so I’ve included a photo of the finish area. Not very exciting but I’m there in the background somewhere.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 29

This is a bit of a selfish one, but I’m so pleased to see a few more classes and running groups in Sutton Coldfield.

I’ve been meaning to give pilates a go since I reviewed Pilates for Runners almost two years ago.

 Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 27.36 km

Juneathon Day 28: the one with a wardrobe error and race entry

Good morning and I hope that you are having a great Saturday morning whatever you are doing. When this blog is published I’ll hopefully have handed out a lot of finish tokens in the correct order. If the morning has gone really well, I won’t have had any clumsy moments. Arrrraaaggghhhhh #panic

So, what did I get up to during Day 28 of Juneathon? Did I manage to avoid throwing my slightly temperamental work laptop out of a window? Did I manage to avoid the temptation of working outside?

Thanks to the joys of flexible working, the day started with an extra hour in bed. Waking up at 06:30 felt far more civilised than at 05:30. I got up, had a shower, got dressed and made myself actually eat something for breakfast. I then spent what felt like forever trying to get my work laptop to ‘talk’ to my RSA fob. After a minor meltdown where I had visions of having to head into the office, I finally managed to get my laptop connected to the work network.

The morning flew by relatively quickly, so quickly I only realised it was lunch when my stomach started to make some loud rumbling noises. I decided to be brave and to heat up the mussels I’d bought in Sainsbob’s earlier in the week. Even though I followed the instructions and probably overcooked the mussels, I still spent the next hour or so feeling like I was about to be ‘unwell’.

Following a reasonably productive afternoon, I decided that I’d done enough work for one week and exchanged my work laptop for my personal laptop. I caught up on some blogmin and then decided to walk to the Post Office to drop off some parcels. I’d been wearing a fleece as it was cold inside my house; halfway to the Post Office I realised wearing a fleece was a definite wardrobe error. It was boiling and I was doing a beetroot impression when I got home.

Highlights of what was left of Day 28 (can you tell I’ve had enough of staring at a computer screen?) included me entering the Vitality Big Half and booking accommodation for the weekend. If I don’t manage to run I can still head down to London for the weekend. I’ve heard that the location of the unhappiest three months of my life – Southwark Training Centre – is being redeveloped, so I’ll go and have a look. I’ll also visit some of my old Marylebone haunts.

Random Photos from Day 28

Another failure on the photo taking front. I’m sure I’ll take some while before and after parkrun, Sutton Park always looks gorgeous when it’s sunny.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 28

I’m quite lucky in that since I’ve been taking the pill, I haven’t experienced period pain. I have no idea what will happen when I have to stop taking the pill.

I’m not sure how many people follow the Conservation UK, so I thought I’d share this article here.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 25.51 km

Juneathon Day 27: the one with some DOMS and goodbye to FleaBay

Good morning and Happy Friday. When this blog is published, I’ll hopefully be working from home, making good progress with some quite technically challenging flow assessments.

So, what did I get up to on Day 27 of Juneathon? Did my feet recover from the run? Did I manage to answer all of my work emails?

After a terrible night’s sleep, I woke up feeling shattered. I didn’t want to get out of bed and almost went for the getting into the office later option. This would have meant a late finish so I dragged myself out of bed. The mostly downhill walk to Blake Street station was slower than usual as my legs and feet felt a tad DOMS’y. The walk between Birmingham New Street and Moor Street turned into a sprint as my first train was so late.

Work was work. I managed to get a lot of emails sent out and may have volunteered myself to help out with a couple of drought related projects. I must remember not to be too keen during this initial ‘quieter’ period otherwise I’ll struggle when my workload increases. I left the office at 15:30 and made it home just over an hour later, before Birmingham New Street suffered some sort of signal failure.

It was hot! I’d spent the day in an air-conditioned office and had no idea how warm it was outside. I decided to make the most of the sun, and spent an hour in the garden, relaxing after what had been a slightly ‘testing’ day.

I felt quite calm when I opened my FleaBay account, and was about to leave feedback for some sellers, when I noticed someone had left me negative feedback. The feedback wasn’t just negative; it was offensive and completely false. Now, the one time I had an issue I contacted the seller, this person had made no effort to contact me. I ‘phoned FleaBay who said that although they could remove the offensive comment, they weren’t able to remove the negative rating as ‘the buyer is always right’ and it would be ‘my word against the buyers’. I did some research and discovered the buyer has a habit of leaving offensive, negative feedback.

I ended all my listings and have started the account closure process. Life is too short to deal with idiots online and there are plenty of other options. I can see why FleaBay is struggling. That’s my rant over!

The rest of the evening was far more chilled out, possibly because I knew I didn’t have to get up at 05:30. I even sold a few bits and pieces on a Facebook selling page.

Random Photo from Day 27

I completely forgot to take any photos, but this photo from an old blog summarises my thoughts on FleaBay!

eBay woes


Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 27

It has to be this tweet…

The Lionesses have never won a major trophy, hopefully they are about to change this.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 25.51 km

Juneathon Day 26: the one with a meeting in Birmingham and run in Sutton Park

Good Evening and Happy Thursday. The end of the week (and Juneathon) is rapidly approaching. Only a few more days of me sharing an insight into my mundane daily life to go. I sometimes wish I was brave enough and talented enough to work for myself. Then I remind myself that freelancing sounds like it has the potential to be incredibly stressful, and that I’m lucky to work for an organisation that encourages flexible working.

Enough waffling and thinking about slightly unrealistic aspirations. What did I get up to on Day 26 of Juneathon? Did I manage to make the most of my extra hour before work? How did my meeting go? Did I manage to avoid making an idiot out of myself?

Wednesday got off to a slightly frustrating start when I automatically woke at 05:30. My meeting in Birmingham didn’t start until 10:00, so I didn’t need to get up at my usual time. More dedicated runners would have headed out for an early morning run. I’m not a dedicated runner at the moment and also had plans to run in the evening, so I went back to sleep for another hour. I woke up, stuck a load of washing on and had a nervous wait for it to finish.

The working day got off to an amusing start when I couldn’t work out how to actually get to my meeting. I knew where the building was located, thanks to a large area around Victoria Square being closed due to tram extension works, and I couldn’t work out how to walk there. I was a case of I could see the building but couldn’t work out how to reach it. In the end my tried and tested approach of ‘following other people’ did the trick. Imagine a Brummie being late for a National meeting in Birmingham. How embarrassing.

The meeting itself was incredibly informative and I learnt a lot and met some great people. I felt a little overwhelmed at times but I’m sure I’ll get used to my new role soon. Lunch was amazing, definitely a 10/10 rating. One of the few perks of living in Birmingham was getting home at a reasonable time.

I got in, stuck a second load of washing on, and then spent a few minutes writing up some of the actions I took away from the meeting. My running buddy then contacted me to see if I’d like to meet up for a run. As my dodgy knee and foot felt reasonably niggle free, I agreed and a couple of hours later found myself running in Sutton Park.

What can I say about the run? It was both entertaining and challenging. We went slightly further than I thought we would, we encountered several large dogs, a herd of cows, and several cars filled with ’lads’ smoking weed. If I’m being honest, I found the out of control dogs scarier than the weed brigade. The company was great and I enjoyed catching up with my local running buddy. We stopped after four miles, took a slightly silly selfies and then went our separate ways. Next time we won’t leave it so long.

By the time I had walked home and had made myself something to eat it was 22:30. Far too late for someone with a 05:30 wake up call to be blogging, apologies for the lateness of this Juneathon update.

Random Photo from Day 26

Have I mentioned that I’m not a huge fan of cows?

Scary cows

I always think I’m about to be chased.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 26

Not the ‘best’ thing but I feel like I need to know more about what triggered this update.

At times when I walk and run in Sutton Park I feel a bit like Des. I’m waiting for the day an out of control dog attacks.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 25.51 km

Have you ever been late for a work meeting? I guess people are generally late due to train issues etc, not because they can’t work out how to navigate to a building they can see.

Have you ever been chased by cows? I’m sure that one of these days the Sutton Park cows will chase me.

Juneathon Day 25: the one with a return trip to Reading and power pint

I’m typing this on my iPhone a train so there may be even more typos than usual. I also found the time to have a quick pint with one of my ex Wallingford colleagues in Reading. And the toilets on the train are broken, a potential disaster.

So, why did I end up in Reading on the 25th day of Juneathon? I rewind back a few weeks to explain.

A few weeks, a colleague emailed me to say he was organising a CIWEM meeting. I forgot all about the meeting as I assumed I wouldn’t be able to make it. Last Thursday, I spotted a flyer advertising the meeting and in true Emma style I booked a place and then worried about getting there.

Luckily for me, the trains weren’t delayed, and I made it to Reading in time to pick up some lunch in Pret, walk to the office and get my laptop set up before my first telecom. Not so luckily for me I didn’t have enough time to eat my breakfast before my telecoms started. Three telecoms later the hunger was real, and I more or less ran to the canteen.

The afternoon flew by because I actually had the opportunity to catch up with some of my old teammates. I only left Wallingford on June 7th, it already feels like a lifetime ago. I was invited to some Beer and Bants sessions but reluctantly had to say no. Once I settle into my new role, I suspect I’ll have more time.

The evening meeting covered one of my favourite topics; climate change projections. Both speakers were knowledgeable and had to cope with some challenging questions. As a bonus it finished on time which gave me just enough time for a quick pint with someone I used to work with. I regretted my power pint when I discovered the toilets on the train were out of action. My Challenge Anneka impression through the centre of Birmingham New Street made me appreciate my reasonable fitness levels.

Almost 14 hours after leaving home, I found myself struggling to unlock the front door.  I must remember to get the lock looked at.

I finished writing this masterpiece, made myself some beans on toast and was so tired I headed straight to bed and adjusted my alarm.

Today will be better as I’ve got a meeting in Birmingham. Meetings in Birmingham are great because I get a bit of a lie in!

Random Photos from Day 25

These are more random than normal as I’ve been asked to produce an updated ‘day in my life’ post.

I got a few strange looks trying to take photos while waiting for the train back up to Birmingham.

Best thing Spotted on the Internet on Day 25

I need a sleep (or lack of) sleep tracker.

If you use a sleep tracker, please share your recommendations with me.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 19:07 km


Juneathon Day 24: the one with some technical hydrological conundrums

Good morning. When this blog is published, weather permitting I’ll be working from the Reading office. I’ve got a CIWEM meeting this evening in the Reading office, so I decided to spend the day working with some of my hydrology colleagues. If I get stuck in Reading for whatever reason, Wallingford is only a short bus journey away 😉

So, how did Day 24 – I’m so pleased that the end is in sight – of Juneathon go? Did I have a productive day in the office? Did I find somewhere to sit? Did my new travel pass work? Did the trains behave?

I’m not sure if I went to bed too early, but I woke well before my alarm. I’ve no idea what woke me up, but I struggled to get back to sleep. I think I was in autopilot during the walk to the train station and journey into Birmingham New Street. I got to the barriers and was relieved when my swift card – Birmingham’s answer to an Oyster card – let me through. The train to Solihull was running on time and I reached the office an hour after leaving my local train station.

The morning was quite technically demanding. I spent an hour working my way through some rather vague setting up work phone instructions. Only I could end up with a work phone exactly the same colour and model as my personal phone. I’m pretty much guaranteed to get the two mixed up. I also did my best to answer some quite technical hydrology conundrums. I have a feeling this new job may be slightly too technical for me, I’ll have to see how I get on.

Shortly after midday, I headed down to the canteen and grabbed myself a sandwich. As I didn’t recognise anyone I decided to do something that would have been frowned upon in my old office; I ate my lunch at my desk. I made sure that I had a break from work and spent some time catching up on the news and cricket.

The great thing about getting in so early is that after lunch it feels like it’s more or less time to head home.

I got home after a slightly warmer than anticipated walk, made myself a cup of tea, turned on my computer and finished packing my FleaBay sales. I made sure that I walked to the Post Office before I sat down and chilled out. Parcels dropped off, I grabbed myself something to eat from Local Sainsbob’s. I got home and had a quick nap.

Nap complete, I cooked and ate the potato skins I’d bought in Sainsbob’s. Not the healthiest of meal options, but slightly better than another takeaway, watched Casualty and remembered to do the washing up #adultingwin

By the time I’d tracked down some references to add to my will-it-ever-be-finished manuscript and written this masterpiece, it was time for a shower and then bed. I can’t help but think I should be doing more with my evenings. Perhaps I should ban weekday TV or something?

Random Photos from Day 24

I didn’t take any photos #bloggingfail so here’s a sneak preview of some of the content in my next rants and raves post.



Can you tell I’ve already had enough of hot desking!

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 24

This tweet made me instantly want an ice lolly. I clearly need to work on the balance between quality food and treats.

At the moment I’ve nailed the treats. Perhaps I should do a ‘What Emma eats in a day’ blog.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 19.07 km