Welcome To My Travel Site
Me On The Nullarbor Plain Higher, Western Australia, December 2004
This is my travel website chronicling my various travels and adventures around the world.
My latest youtube video! London’s Royal Exchange filmed over 2 years – Nov 2010 – Jan 2013. On my way home from work each day/night I started taking pics of The Royal Exchange from outside Bank station. Eventually making this stop-motion movie from them – it’s a bit jerky at the start, but hope you like the video anyways. Watch out for the Olympics logos/barriers – taken during the men’s marathon and wheelchair marathons.
My contribution to the Mo Farah Runs Away From Things craze!
Take bus 747 from Montreal airport, it runs 24/7.
Travel card costs $8 and lasts 24hours after 1st usage on bus and metro + includes a ride on the 747 bus. $16 for 3 days usage.
Montpelier Highlights for me were:
1) visiting the Skinny Pancake shop for good/different food
2) pick up a free town street map from the Info stand a bit along from Subway, on the way to the state Capitol. this is highly useful.
3) tour the State Capitol building, very friendly and helpful guides there.
4) visit the Hubbard Park tower – about 20mins walk.
5) you can walk back down from Hubbard Park to the town via either path. the higher path is nicer, the lower path goes steeply down the ‘mountain’ and ends up.
6) visit the Uncommon market – reminds me of Bailey and Sage in Wimbledon village
The Greyhound Bus stop is on Main Street just by the Fire station, it’s on one side of the road only, The other side are for municipal buses.
The supermarket is the south end of of mainstreet.
You can take Bus 29 and 6 from to Greyhound station.
Get hold of the B&B map.
Visit the Capitol, found very interesting, we don’t really have this kind of thing in the UK.
Decided I needed a break after 6 months of no holiday (what with the marathon training and everything) and so took a trip up north to tick off a visit to Leeds (Beflast now remains the last major town I haven’t visited in the UK according to my list). Needed an excuse to go and happened upon a lecture in Halifax (never been there either) that interested me. After a quick glance at some tennis at the Roehampton Wimbledon qualifiers, I set off about 2pm. Finally reaching Halifax a whole hour before the 7:30pm start. The lecture was by Ed Stafford, the first man ever to walk entire length of the Amazon river! It took him 2.5 years – 860 DAYS! to do and he saw Piranahs, Anacondas, waded through head high water, thousands of mosquitos, was called Pela Cara (face peeler – some Amazonian tribes think white men steal people’s faces and body parts and will kill without hesitation) and even sat on the back of a motorbike driven by a 5ft tall Peruvian lady one time whlst holding her miniture dog! It was pretty interesting, along with the various slides, maps and video of the trip he showed us, there’s going to be a 2 part doco on TV too. Following the lecture was a Q/A session and I got to ask Ed what kind of physical training he’d done to prepare for the trip - ‘Not a whole lot to be honest’ was his reply Also bought his book Walking the Amazon and got to meet the man himself, can’t wait to read it – a really good bloke – a true adventurer and explorer.
TOOK 5hours right on, well 5:01:20 to be precise!! whoop whoop
Woke up wide awake and somewhat hyper at 5:15am, but forced myself to lay in bed trying to rest and got up at 6:40am just after my alarm went off. Had my Shreddies, but was too nerve-racking to eat the eggs and bacon I’d cooked the night before, so only ate bit of the eggs and made sandwiches. Caught Wimbledon to Waterloo train, along with loads of other marathoners and we then took the packed Waterloo East train to Greenwich station.
Wandering through Greenwich Park at 8:30am to the marathon area was quite a sight with the thousands of other runners all getting ready with their red Virgin London Marathon kit bags and brightly coloured shirts. As it was so warm I took off the bright red £3 top I’d bought from TK Max the day before (they suggest buying a cheap top to throw away if it’s a cold start) and showing off my running number of 46685 walked into the runners area to be greeted by Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.
Still a bit tired, sat in the park listening to the funny Geordi announcer guy and ate my egg/bacon sandwiches + some crisps and Muller Rice pudding before noticing it was getting very close to 9:45am. So following a bunch of runners, I walked through a fence opening to the start line queue. Looking around, downing a Gatorade, I seemed to be surrounded by this bunch of very fit 3:30hr club athleteswell except for the guy in the big furry outfit a few metres behind me
The race started and off we went, took about 10mins to cross the starting line and was very exciting and great feeling from the start.
Wanted to pace myself with about 10 or 11minute miles, which I stuck to rather well. Got overtaken by millions of people for the first few miles, including Horny Paul the Rhino, but this didn’t really concern me as I had an idea I’d catch up with many of them later on, which I indeed did, including poor Horny Paul the Rhino just before 21miles where upon he looked rather hot , tired and bedraggled (massive respect to him). Fellow Save the Rhino runner Dave Curnick also said hi on the way
Running The Race
Words cannot describe how good the crowd were – their cheers really do keep you going, they give you motivation like nothing else. Also just knowing your friends are out there is a great boost. What is awesome too is that for the first 12 miles or so the roads are a bit more open and the thousands of people lining the route and cheering are just wonderful. Tons of kids/randoms hold their hands out and you can slap them a high or low five as you go past. Thanks to them all hugely. Big thanks to Terry too for telling me to put my name on my shirt, as you run along people sometimes shout your name and again it just keeps you going like you wouldn’t believe.
Seeing my friend Ben Hall at Surrey Quays 8.5miles in and his shout of ‘James Reed’ and then again at Tower Bridge and again at 21 miles was off the planet, mate that was someting else. Also the Rachel + Gina shouting like maniacs along with dad and his rhino placards and the rest of the family at 11.5mile mark in Bermondsey ruled and then on the Embankment, so good, so surprising and so enlivening.
The live music played along the way and the loud speaker music is also MASSIVE help, so good of the clubs/pubs/people to do that. Put it this way at one point, we’re talking about 22miles, they were playing Jump Around and I actually jumped past them it was so energizing, yeah at 22miles, lol.
The mile markers really do help too, really did find myself counting them down. Found the worst mile was mile 15, you’re a bit past half way and the going is starting to get tougher, it’s less populated, plus it was on somewhat of a hilly area and I desperately wanted to hit 16 (prob cos of the Epsom run). Once you hit 16 you know it’s two miles til 18 and once there it’s only 8 miles to go which should be possible, even walking.
The weather was warm, sunny and hot at points, nice suntan in the end, but cool enough to run (officially described start as ‘perfect conditions’) but I must’ve literally drunk about 10litres of water, I had countless bottles of water + lucuzade sports drinks handed out on the way and must’ve just sweated it out. The sports gels were also incredible. I’ve never tried a sports gel (liquid carbohydrates + glucose) before but they had Lucuzade gel stations at 14miles and 22miles, so I tried them and the result was remarkable, just seemed to propel you along.I also carried one of them(third taken at 23miles + at 24miles) and a couple of carbo-bars with me(consumed at 9 and 18 miles) which helped push me onwards.
Crossing The Finish Line
Whereas many say they can’t feel their legs the last 6 miles, I actually picked up speed during the last 3 miles(seriously surprised at my own fitness), I mean I was properly running it, hitting 11kmph apparently. Meant I overtook hundreds of people, including some really old and some really in-trouble runners and Sprinted over the finish line!
Received my medal, goodie bag and got one of those silver foil capes I’ve wanted pretty much my whole life and was one of the main reasons I did this thing Then hanged out with the Save the Rhino team, thanks so much Adam and Lucy you guys are the best, had a leg massage from two very nice blondes and was met and greeted by the old folks, Gina, Stephen, the Rachel, Ben, Henry, Jackie and the QRC bunch. I waited until the last Rhino came in (about 7:30hrs, a lady who’d run the Brighton marathon the week before!) and then headed to Wagamamas for a chicken Katzu curry. The finale being a pint of Guinness with Mr.Hall in Wetherspoons in Wimbledon! Zzz
Other Highlights Of The Race
- My running battle/war with none other than Mickey Mouse! the pesky mouse kept repeatedly running fast, overtaking me, then slowing down a bit and so I’d overtake him, then the menacing mouse would do the same again and I couldn’t do anything cos the crowd loved him and kept shouting “Mickey!” all the time!
- Being chased by a tiger, he was very funny
- Racing a couple of Elvis’s
- Being well overtaken by Dino the dinosaur and the Flintstones, then seeing them doing some interview later on.
- Seeing the guy in the green Tinkerbell fairy outfit who was kicking a football all the way
- Seeing the two firemen walking at about 12miles in FULL UNIFORM + BOOTS, they must’ve been ahead of me by a good way until then! wow!
- The Knights in full armour jogging past me at points.
- Txting facebook and friends “At 24miles!” when gone through the tunnel at 24 miles
- Seeing a big hairy Lion right at the end
- Watching the Rhinos come in – wo those guys are crazily brave running in those things!
- Lots of other moments…
I have to say the whole thing was organised extremely well from start to finish and All in all was a brilliant brilliant day!
Finally thanks again to super runner + running expert Nico, all credit to him for telling me to run this thing in the first place!
And so my London Marathon 2011 training blog warms down to a close, thanks for reading
Tonight I got to run round the sights of the capital city with a London Marathon Winner! 1983 London Marathon Winner 'Mike Gratton' in fact. oh 1983 you say, well this guy ran the Marathon in 2:09hrs!!! that's faster than the elite Brit runners run today, pretty good, no?! Save the Rhino had most excellently organised this run with Mike for us and it was brilliant – about 12 of us turned up inc Adam who'd set it all up, though he refrained from running with us cos he had to 'look after our stuff' hehe. We met in a gym in London Bridge and after Mike showed us how to warm up properly, we did about a 5.5mile circuit from London Bridge up and over Westminster Bridge and back to London Bridge where we started. A bunch of the guys sped off ahead of us at the start and were obviously aiming for a quick run, but a group of 4 of us hanged back so we could chat to Mike, plus we were prob lot slower than the guys ahead, am not going for 2:09hrs this yr, perhaps next . There were a couple of other girls too, but they went the wrong way down an alley half way and somehow ended up a bit behind us. Mike gave us some running tips and told us stuff about his training back in day – lots of repeated 400m's sprints etc!! It was a very nice run, taking in Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, the Wheel, glimpse of St.Pauls etc running over the Thames was cool too, pollution didn't seem too bad either. We finished with a drink and a superb pasta meal in the bar next to the gym. Mike gave us some very useful and interesting running tips. It was good to meet some other Save the Rhino guys too, really nice bunch, cheers Tristan and the girls for running with me and Thanks so much Mike for a very inspiring night.
Check out 2:09Events which Mike runs – they do fun events like a marathon run over three days between vineyards in the South of France, yes lots of wine too!
There is a ginger cat that lives in my house called ‘Grahamina’ – she is a special cat because she likes to interrupt my breakfast and use Google to produce amazing results such as the one below!
I'd seen the posters around and resisted so far, BUT it wa too much, my hero Michael Knight was starring in the pantomime at Wimbledon theatre! Yes, the star of my fave TV programme as a kid Knightrider AKA Mitch from Baywatch AKA David Hasselhoff was visiting my hometown and this might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see him! so I went along for the Wednesday 1:30pm show! It was Peter Pan with The Hoff as Hook and Louie Spence from Pineapple Studios as the Cabin Boy (named Roger lol). These two made an unexpectedly brilliant combination. The Hoff's very-English announcement of the start of the show, hinted to me that he may have actually grasped what the very British institute of panto really is, which is most impressive for an American! After curtain up, came the songs, the dances, the jokes and even the story, which was wonderfully told and acted out by all the cast involved! Louie Spence was flippin hilarious and what a dancer too! The dude playing Peter Pan was excellent too, had a real quality for being a nice guy and luring the audience in with the traditional BEHIND YOU and OH NO HE HASN'T routines too! Top marks to both him + the lady playing Wendy, you guys got the characters 100% right + the funny pirates ruled (esp the bit where Louie got them doing a caberet).
What I loved was that rightly there were references to everything – Baywatch, KITT (best car ever if you don't know), the talking watch, Pamela Anderson (who was at the theatre last year), they even had a bit introduced as singing 'live from the Berlin Wall' (oh yes, all you Germans out there, who remembers Hoff sitting on the Wall singing Freedom in 1989). The delighted shouts and laughs of what sounded like thousands of kids around me along with adults and a large number of pensioners alike, made a great atmosphere.
Got a txt from a friend earlier saying that the Daily Wail had slated the show, I really dunno what version the reviewers saw but this was EXCELLENT STUFF! the best panto production I've seen and certainly better than the last one I went to a while ago. Even had a fab DISCO INFERNO ending!
Was also very lucky having a great seat about 5 rows back from the front and happened to be sitting next to a very pretty blonde, who people around obviously thought I was with, Spicegirl Emma Bunton being one of them, as she + her man + kids were sat behind us! Turned out this girl was cool and knew the guy playing Peter Pan and loved the show too, her squeals everytime Louie said something, are gunna be a lasting memory So, a most splendid Wednesday afternoon.
P.S. WISH I'D KNOWN WHEN KITT HAD BEEN OUTSIDE THE THEATRE, WHY DON'T THEY ADVERTISE THESE THINGS???!!
I was really in the mood for something quick and preferably noodles. I didn't have any peppers or bean sprouts, but thought I'd try see what I could cook up anyways. I also used a non-stick saucepan instead of a wok! Turned out to be delicious, perhaps even better than with the bean sprouts.
1 small onion chopped
1 clove organic garlic chopped
half an organic carrot chopped
small dollop of tomato puree
1 x nest sharwoods noodles
1/3 lemon's juice
Blue Dragon oyster sauce
Blue Dragon soy sauce
Schwartz ground ginger
unrefined cane sugar
2 slices Morrison's carvery cooked ham
1/4 pack Morrison's simple side salad (endive, radicchio, carrot and cabbage).
Cooking The Dish
- heat non-stick saucepan with small amount of olive oil
add onions + garlic to pan, fry for 3mins
add 1/3 of the carrot
add a small amount of tomato puree (hey it was to hand) and mix
add some water and reduce heat to level 1 (quite low)
- boil some water in another pan, add rest of carrots and when boiling, add noodles
cook noodles for 4mins
meanwhile remember to keep stiring the onions/garlic to stop them burning.
- drain noodles/carrots and add them to the onions/garlic,
turn up the heat to max!
- stir liberally until onions are mixed in with noodles
- add a good tbsp oyster sauce and stir, adding water if it's getting a bit dry
add tsp of ginger, stir
add tsp soy sauce, stir
add half tbsp cane sugar, stir + add some water
add in 1/3 lemon's juice
add bit more oyster sauce and some water and stir til it's all hot again
- add 2 slices ham, stir
- add handful salad mix for 1minute, stir again and stir/cook for one minute
P.S. I say tbsp/tsp but personally I just chucked it in the mix, guessing.
Went to see 'Evita' at Wimbledon Theatre last night. The smash hit musical of the remarkably interesting life story of Argentina's first lady Eva Peron was an excellent production and thoroughly enjoyable! The lead, along with the guy who played her husband Juan Peron were superb, her rendition of the timelessly emotional 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' was thrilling as well as enthralling. Ché Guevara was pretty cool too, this guy did an incredible job as narrator for the story and was endlessly entertaining. I won't say too much on these three, as you prob get the picture, the performance from the rest of the cast was flawless too from their dancing to the group singing. Evita's first boyfriend was a class act too and I must look up who Juan's mistress was, she was only in it a short time but her "So What Happens Now?" piece was stunning, with a unique voice like that she could have a career to follow. hmmm.
Only thing is I'll have to read up on Mz Peron now, can't believe she died at only 33, rising from literally nothing and nowhere at 15 to national celebrity and wife of the president by the time she was 26. Apparently after her death her body left Argentina for 17 years only returning after Peron re-entered politics there. Tim Rice stumbled randomly upon the story and the rest is history.
Top marks again Wimbledon Theatre!
Sampras Slam Dunk Top 10! Love it Federer fans!
Just 'invented' a particularly wonderful tasting chicken pasta recipe that's extremely simple and quick to make! In fact it was so delicious tonight that I've decided to put it on here and list exactly what went into it
Some pasta from a 500g pack of Morrisons Organic Pasta (how much is up to you, usually approx 100g per person)
2 x sprays of Fry Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 x 400g tin Heinz Classic Cream of Tomato soup
2 pinches of Schwartz Basil
5 taps of Saxa Ground Black Pepper
Half the breast from a Morrisons cooked chicken with stuffing
Tablespoon or two of Morrisons Organic Cream
How To Cook:
1) add pasta to a pan of cold water, spray in oil (helps stop pasta sticking together)
2) bring to boil and cook pasta for 10minutes
3) drain pasta. Add tin of tomato soup. Simmer the soup for 30 seconds, add the basil and pepper. Stir.
4) Simmer for 2 mins, then add the chicken breast (tear into sizable chunks) and stir in.
5) Simmer for another minute and add the cream. Simmer for a further 5 mins.
6) Serve! YUM!
Yeah I know it's pretty obvious, but am I not a genius for using a tin of soup instead of a jar of pasta sauce, eh?! also the reason this is on here is cos tonight this stuff tasted better than anything I can remember that's resulted from a pasta sauce jar!
Yes, as you can see I'm somewhat a fan of Morrisons stuff. I should start with their pasta – I don't know why, but Morrisons Organic Pasta (it comes in shells and twirls) tastes better than ordinary pasta, I don't know why, but it just does! try it if you don't believe me.
Their cooked chicken is also very nice and their beef(esp their Prime Sirloin) lamb and pork is known to be the best of any supermarket (I know someone who works for a government food agency and they tell me this too). Sainsbury's SO Organic meat is also pretty good. I'm not a hugely taken by Morrisons eggs, they're alright, but I get organic free-range farm eggs from a newsagent which are actually cheaper and better. Also Co-op bacon and sausages top the bunch for me.
Anyways hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it out.
Was lucky enough to see Oasis @ Wembley, July 9th 2009
IMPORTANT NOTE: No Adjectives Can Describe Just How Good These Guys Are Live. You have to be there really.
Just when I was thinking legendary Britney’s's O2 show was well up there, untoppable perhaps, these guys turn up at Wembley and knock everything into perspective. Now I wasn’t near the front, but was on level 1 and this meant I got an amazing perspective of the stadium and whole event, especially the throngs of people in the standing area flowing like waves in a stormy sea. The venue was incredible and the diversity of fans remarkable. The Liam lookalikes wandering around drunk add to the iconic atmosphere. The sound system was staggeringly clear and loud, until it cut out for a minute during Wonderwall and all you could hear was everyone singing the chorus. I was meant to be seated, but stood up for 100% of the concert, mostly singing and rockin with the group of fellow Oasis nuts I’d met around me, including some dude who’d seen them in 1994 – in other words akin to the girl I’d met in Bulgaria who’d seen Nirvana live!
Also made me realise too just how many hits they’ve had. Well glad I went with Andy, a true fellow Oasis fan, somebody who deserved seeing something like this. Still the best band in the world, but then I would say that cos they’ve been my fave band for a decade and I was MAD FOR IT. Next day I played a tennis match against a guy in West Byfleet, turned out he too was at the gig, only he’d had a standing ticket, got there really early and was in the front enclosed section, feet away from Liam & Noel! Lucky Lucky Lucky man! But I don’t look back in anger, you gotta roll with it and I won’t go crying my heart out neither
Playlist that night: Rock n’Roll Star, Lyla, The Shock Of The Lightning, Cigarettes & Alcohol, Roll With It, To Be Where There’s Life, Waiting for the Rapture, Masterplan, Songbird, Slide Away, (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory, My Big Mouth, Importance Of Being Idle, Half The World Away, I’m Outta Time, Wonderwall, Supersonic, Live Forever, Don’t Look Back In Anger, Falling Down, Champagne Supernova, I Am The Walrus
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JamesReed.org is finally launched! HOORAH!