Photo Post – Wales June 2012

As some of you will know earlier this year I went to visit my fried Rob at his family farm in the Breacon Beacons of Wales. When I came back life got busy and I’ve only really had the chance to go through the 600 odd photos I took. Well I got there in the end and hopefully you’ll find some pictures to enjoy below.

Garden StreamValley ViewWild FlowersRiver ViewRob by SunsetRiver ViewTree ReflectionRiver ViewWild FlowersRob enjoying the viewRiver ViewStone MonumentHarbourJubilee HarbourBreacon ChurchClock TowerHarbourWild FlowerCanal ViewCanal ViewMiner StatueWild FlowersFeather ArtUnder the BridgeWild FlowersWaiting on a bargeManning the pumpsOpening the gatesRiver ViewThoughtful momentCountry LaneWild FlowersWild FlowersWild FlowersView into Sheep FieldWild FlowersVillage ChurchCovered WalkwayJubilee Phone BoxJubilee Phone Box DetailInside The Phone BoxNarrow PassageGentle StreamHill ClimbingCaterpillar Nest"One Day...."Wall Flowers"Make mine a pint..."Ironwork DetailsWeathervaneDuck CrossingTrucks Lined UpTruck DetailsMichelin ManPrepared for AnythingPrepared for AnythingSmall Traction EngineSmall Traction EngineCarved BarrelTraction Engine PistonsTraction Engine PistonsTraction Engine PipeworkTraction Engine FaceplateTraction Engine ControlsTraction Engine PipeworkSteam JetTraction Engine PipeworkSteam ReleaseTraction Engine PistonsSouped Up WheelchairRear View Mirror...Traction Engine at WorkViking Bonnet MountBonnet Mounted GaugeOil CanLucky LockPatriotic CarWar MemorialRebecca's Pub - Full ViewRebecca's Pub - Top WindowRebecca's Pub - Frontage DetailsRebecca's Pub - Lit UpRebecca's Pub - In the windowRebecca's Pub - Lit Up FrontRebecca's Pub - Lit up FrontRebecca's Pub - Lit Up Front View


Photo Post – Olympic Torch in Maidstone

At a stupidly early hour this morning the Olympic Torch came through Maidstone.  I dragged myself out of bed and headed into town with the camera finding that a good crowd had gathered together and it was certainly a lot busier than I had expected it to be.  This of course made it bit harder to be in a good spot to get some photos but I think I got some good shots and have put them online over at the Flickr account.  Quick links/previews below.

Crowds GatheringCrowds GatheringCrowds GatheringTorch Runner In WaitingTorches In WaitingCoca Cola Warm-Up TeamCoca Cola Warm-Up TeamFlag WaverSamsung Warm-Up TeamLloyds Warm-Up TeamLloyds Warm-Up TeamTorch SightedTorch RunnerTorch RunnerTorch RunnerTorch RunnerTorch RunnerTorch RunnerTorch RunnerTorch RunnerCrowds Waiting On The RiverCanoeing OutriderOlympic Torch Rowing ThroughOlympic Torch Rowing ThroughOlympic Torch Rowing ThroughOlympic Torch Rowing ThroughAqua Security Team

Photo Post – The London Marathon

As you probably all know I ran the London Marathon this Sunday finishing in a time of 6:59:58.  Lots of family and friends came up to support and I left my camera in the care of my Dad who took the photos below.  All in all it was an amazingly painful but an amazingly wonderful experience with really wonderful support from the crowds of supporters and fellow runners.  A great day – though I’m not sure I’ll do it again in a hurry!

Getting Ready at the StartYours Truly Waiting to StartGreenwich to Canary WharfSupportersElite MenRunners through GreenwichA Variety of Expressions of ConcentrationElvisBagpussRunners through Greenwich2 Humps are better than 1?RhinoAsthma DragonMe approaching 10kMe approaching 10kFonz time!Bottle dropApproaching Half-wayWave for the CameraHeading back into townSisterly HelpCold Weather Approaching the finishCrossing the LineFinished!Support Team

The London Marathon – Race Day Tracking Etc

It seems shocking and surprising but that time has come – in less than a week I’m going to be running the London Marathon…  If you’d fed up with hearing about that then I’d stop reading now as this post is focussed towards the people who are planning on coming up to watch and support through the run in London/want to keep track on what’s going on via the internet.

On The Course

I’m conscious of a few people planning on coming up to London on the big day to come and cheer on and have been trying to get a list of places which are supposed to be good for supporters to come and stand.  The Virgin London Marathon website ( has an interactive map which suggests a couple of good places for supporters to stand, and some places to avoid that can be seen here:

The charity VICTA is going to have a couple of cheering points around the course as well as you can see in the map below – these should have a VICTA gazebo and a group of people wearing  the really stylish VICTA t-shirts and I’m sure they’ll be friendly and happy to see extra people.

My Mum’s colleague Sarah whose husband has run the marathon a couple of times has suggested the following as well (thanks Sarah!)

If you are going to go to the start on Blackheath make sure that you are not on the Green side when the runners go off.  You need to be on the side of Maze Hill Road (have a look on the map near the red start – it’s on the side of Greenwich Park).  If you walk down Maze Hill Road (takes about 10 minutes from memory) this will take you to mile 6 where you can see the runners.

I would then get on  Cutty Sark DHL and go over to Shadwell as you can see the runners at miles 13 and 22 from the same point.

Then it depends what you want to do but get back on at Shadwell either go straight to finish or stop along the embankment somewhere between 23 and 25 miles (Tower Hill -) 24 (Temple) – 24 to 25 or (Embankment) 25.

These are only suggestions and have a look on the interactive map to check these points.

As for people I’m expecting a range of faces Family – I think my parents and Zoe at least are going to up at various parts of the course, Uni people – Tom, Cliff, Dan & Ali should all be around on the day; Work people – I think Ju’s going to be around at some point – if don’t have contact details for any of these but want to meet up please let me know and will try and arrange a handover of contact details.


Thanks to the miracles of Apple and modern technology I should hopefully be traceable around the course.  If you have an iPhone (and possibly iPad/iPod Touch) I will be viewable on the “Find My Friends” app – this is free from the App Store though I think you’ll need to add me on this – if you can’t find me for whatever reason drop me a message and will try and find you/get it sorted out.

If you don’t have access to an iPhone, but will have access to a computer then let me know – there’s a website you can use to keep an eye on my progress with an extra set of login details – I’m not going to post these here but if you want to use this method to track get in contact.

In previous years the organisers have provided a tracking service that monitors you as you go through the various gates of the course I’ve not seen any information about this happening this year – but if you can find something my running number is 49285.

At The End

Come the end of the course I want to try and meet up with as many people who’ve made the slog up to London as possible – however I really can’t say what kind of state I’m going to be in.  At the end of the course there’s supposed to be a meeting point at the Horsemans Parade but this looks like the kind of place that will get really busy and as there’s not showers at the course I may choose to run off and have one before seeing folks.  The best thing to do is to keep an eye on the Social Media bits below and keep in contact that way – I’m trying to arrange a spare phone so that I can contact people when it’s all done if my phone battery dies and will be ensuring I have the numbers for the people above written on a piece of paper so that I can make contact somehow!  Sorry to be a bit vague about this all – I wish I knew what it’s going to be like but I’ve never run a marathon before…

Social Media

There’s a couple of people who have very kindly volunteered to update Twitter/Facebook for me as I make my way around the course, every update that goes onto Twitter should also make its way to Facebook feel free to follow/add me – on Twitter I’m SorelJ (!/sorelj) or on Facebook I’m here (  I can’t tell you how regularly they’ll update and if I’m honest I’ll have my mind on other things, but will ask for them to keep you informed as much as possible should you be interested.

If I’ve forgotten anything/you want to know anything please let me know – I’ll keep this post updated so if I find any further information I’ll pop it up here and let you all know.

Thanks again for all the support that everyone has given for this it is all really really appreciated.  If you haven’t sponsored yet and want too (or want to sponsor some more 😉 then you can do this through the VirginMoneyGiving page found here ( or by emailing so that we can get something sorted.

Thank you again and I promise I’ll stop banging on about this come next weekend 😉


Turns out the Marathon does have a tracking site here: you’ll need my name or race number (49285) and I don’t know what information it’ll give as it’s not gone live yet it only starts at 7am on Sunday.

Also if you’re watching on the TV – here’s when/where it’ll be on over the various channels – don’t know if you’ll see me but may crop up in the background looking exhausted!

08:30 – 14:00 BBC1
14:00 – 15:00 Sky red button
17:00 – 18:00 BBC2 highlights

Why The Hunger Games Left Me Feeling Empty

Towards the end of last month and to a great acclaim both critically and from the cinema going the film adaption of The Hunger Games was released. It was a book I read earlier this year – a book that I found suprised me and kept me gripped in a story that twisted everytime I thought I had a handle on where it was going so I was very excited to go and get to see the film, but if I’m honest I found the whole experience underwhelming.

I’m not sure if this is down to me already knowing what was going to happen both in the film and the complete series (I read the whole trilogy in about a week – the 2nd and 3rd books just got better and better), but it just felt like the film was missing that spark that made the books so special.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it was a very good adaptation and can see that they have obviously struggled to include some of the tougher scenes in the book – but at the same time toning these down to suit a 12A certificate seemed to cripple the film slighty – the shock and the impact of the book just wasnt there.

There were also fantastic little character moments, and just scene setters in the book that were skimmed over or just werent there – I know it’s harder to include things like this in a film, but at the same time they drew you into the characters by making them seem more real – and it’s disappointing to see some of the seeds set down in the first book that sprout into key points in the 2nd and 3rd books were missing or not given the time they needed (as presumably to the adapter they weren’t important).

It disappoints me to see some things that could’ve easily been included in the film missing too – once again character notes but ones that make the characters more (un-)likeable in the books and the little hints of what is to come.

In a way it seemed that the decision had been made to try and sell the film as a bit action teen romance – what the books at least superficially appear to be, but on reading the books and finding the hidden depths they plum – that seem to be glossed over in the film in the effort to bring another action scene which is too blurred to really see anything.

I’ve been saying this a lot and fear I’m starting to sound like a stick record but with The Hunger Games read the books and then if you must see the film – you’ll find it a more rewarding experience.

Can You Help With My Marathon Effort?

Hi all,

You may or may not know that I’ve somehow (in a fit of utter madness) managed to sign myself up to running the London Marathon this April… (For those who don’t want the full history there’s a TLDR at the bottom).

I’ve been involved with a charity called VICTA (Visually Impaired Children Take Action) for the past couple of years, and with a bit of gentle persuasion by a couple of friends have agreed to try the sponsored run to try and raise a bit more money the charity.

Founded in 1987, VICTA was set up by parents of blind and partially sighted children who were struggling to meet the needs of their children, as the years past, and with the successful fundraising, the charity became a national service for all families with a visually impaired child.  They now provided enablement tools and arrange outings all over the country and I had the fortune of attending one of their activity weekends last year which was a fantastic experience and really reinforced that though the training runs weren’t fun they were for a really really good cause (they’re still looking for volunteers this year if you’re interested let me know).

So how can you help?  Well the overall point of the exercise is to make money for the charity – and I know that this is something that is tight at the moment but if you have any spare cash that you feel could be put towards an IT Support Engineer pushing themselves way out of their comfort zone please visit the sponsorship page (found here: and leave some money – every little helps and everything is appreciated and will get you guaranteed a Christmas card this year!

If you don’t want to do an online sponsorship site, I have a printed sponsorship form on my desk in the Service Desk (Cantium Ground Floor North) and Linda on Cantium reception has also kindly agreed to look after a sponsorship form for me.

Thank you to everyone for your support so far – it is really really appreciated and I don’t think I could’ve got this far without it.

For further updates etc you can also follow the Marathon Support group people have setup on Facebook here:

Thank you again for your generosity.



Thank you very much for your support so far – if you could help me raise some money for a wonderful charity and sponsor me in this undertaking you can do so online ( or at the sponsorship forms on my desk or with Linda on Cantium Reception.

For further updates etc you can also follow the Marathon Support group people have setup on Facebook here:

Thank you again for your generosity.


The Artist

A lot of fuss has been made about this film partially due to the nature of it.  The film is show in black and white, a square aspect, and is for the most part silent.  Dealing with a silent movie actor who finds his star waning with the advent of talking films, whilst at the same time a young dancer finds her star rising the story is possibly fairly easy to predict and see where it’s going –but at the same time the film is a delight to watch proving that you don’t need the spoken to word to tell a good story.

The film is fantastically put together – watching it repeatedly felt like I was watching a period piece, until a modern day actor came in and recognising them broke the illusion albeit briefly.  The backgrounds were gorgeous and contained a wonderful amount of detail which linked into the main plot (the film posters in the backgrounds seemed to all be symbolic of the scenes in which they were set).

A lot of fuss has been about the performance of the Jack Russell Uggie who while is fun in his scenes wasn’t nearly as scene stealing as I expected him to be from the reactions hes been getting.  He does get some wonderful moments in the film – especially a bit Lassie style moment too.

I would say that the real strengths of the film are how sound is cunningly woven into the fabric – music plays a very a key part of the film (as I’m sure you’d expect), and there’s a beautifully thought through dream sequence which plays within the rules the films has setup for itself.

All in all, I really enjoyed the film – and found it a fantastically odd experience to be sitting in a cinema with 50 other people, but for it to be so quiet at times that you could hear others breathing, when the film finished, it felt quite strange actually talking again and making a noise – I felt reluctant to say too much till I had left the cinema  – which for me is always a sign of a good film when it knocks me to silence like that.

I know that this film isn’t for everyone – the warning sign stating the film was in black and white/silent when you went into the cinema was a good sign of that but it was a good film, and I highly recommend it.

Training Update

Keep updating this – keep forgetting to post this, so excuse the huge info dump.

You may or may not know that I’m currently in the process of training up to run the London Marathon this April.  A (so-called) friend persuaded me that signing up would be a good idea so I now find myself out 4 nights a week wondering how on earth I allowed myself to be dragged out doing this – of course is the point is to raise money to help support the charity VICTA which works with visually impaired children, giving them the things they need to make life easier.

So how’s the training going?  Well a couple of weeks ago I moved onto my new marathon training plan (which should all being well) have me ready to run the marathon in about 14 weeks time (conveniently when the marathon actually is).  This has lead to a change in my running habits – I used to go out 2-3 times a week and do a shortish run (5k/3.10 miles), I’m now going out 3-4 times a week no matter the weather (can’t make any more excuses) and running 3 shorter runs (started at the 5k/3.10 miles mark and getting longer) and one longer run (this started at 6miles/9.65km) and this distance also builds up over the next few months with the view of getting to the point where I can run a marathon and (more importantly) still be alive at the end of it.

This training scheme is taking the pattern of having the three shorter runs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday evenings, followed by the longer run on Saturdays, so slightly different from the Monday, Wednesday and Saturday jogs I was doing before.  I started this off with a nice 6 mile jog – which was hard but I managed, and was pretty chuffed I managed this.  This was followed by three 3 mile jogs – the second of which was harder, due to the proximity to the other runs, but by the time I got to the third my body seemed to be picking up the idea a bit more.  Then the following weekend it was a 7mile jog – which was a bit harder than the 6mile jog – I was generally feeling more tired after the week/new training scheme but managed to pull through what I would say was one of the hardest runs (bear in mind until the weekend before the largest distance I’d run in my life was 3 miles).  In the new week it was a 3mile run for Monday & Wednesday, and a 4 mile run on the Tuesday.  The Monday run was on a hideously cold night and I ended up having major problems from cramp and stiff legs, leading me to the point where I was really dreading going out for the 4 mile jog on the Tuesday evening.

Turns out I was right to dread the 4 mile jog – I found that I was able to jog in fits to the 2 mile marker and then had to walk the rest of the way home – unsure if I was going to make it.  Still I pulled through enough to get home, and then did a bit of research into what could be causing the problem finding out about something called runners knee where the symptoms seemed to match – this wasn’t good as the main thing it recommended was resting your knees something I’ve not really got the time for…  So I walked the three mile run I had planned for Wednesday, and skipped the 5 mile one at the weekend – giving the knees a chance to rest.  I’ve also tried using my running shoes all the time I don’t need smart shoes – they’re designed to boost your midstep and have enabled me to get around over the weekend without any knee issues (walking was getting to be problematic).

Following the weekend, I decided to repeat the week and went out for a 3 mile run using the newer running shoes, rather than the older flatter based ones I usually wear.  This was followed by another 4 mile run which also went well.  I then got a bit cheeky and skipped the last three mile run of the week to allow my knees to rest up a bit further before going for 5 miles at the weekend – this went well and for the first time I really felt I was hitting a steady pace and getting a good stride – hopefully I can keep this going.

The first 3 mile run of the new week went well except for a slip up as I was going into my end cooldown thanks to a patch of icy pavement.  This lead to a grazed knee and a sore hip – nothing serious and hopefully nothing that’ll have long lasting effects with a 5 mile, 3 mile, and a 9 mile jog to go before the end of the week.

The other side effect of all this running is that the local sales of banananas are going up – I find that they provide a good source of potassium which helps out with the leg cramps I get after really pushing it when out on a run.  It would probably really help if I liked the taste…

So that’s what I’ve been doing.  But how can you help?  Well you can sponsor me by going to the sponsorship page here (  If your around at the weekends and fancy helping out as a “water station” on one of the long runs I’m not going to say no either – if you think you can help with this, drop me an email to – your  support is and will be appreciated especially when running along the dark streets on a cold January evening.