Tub on the Run


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A good weekend

Back in October, I had a week off. It was lovely. I got the chance to catch up on a load of things, but importantly, it was also the week that the rugby unions released their Six Nations tickets. I tried to join two online queues – the English queue, and the Welsh queue, trying to get tickets for either Wales v Scotland at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, or England v Wales in at Twickenham. I wanted a Welsh match, as Matt is a staunch Welsh supporter, having decided that he was an adopted Welshman when he studied at Cardiff University. I, on the otherhand, am happy to support any and everyone.

An hour and a half later, I had successfully bought two Wales v Scotland tickets. I tried to book up a hotel at the same time, but that was where my luck ran out. Not a massive problem, we decided, as we would just catch the train in.

Yesterday, we set off at just gone 8am, drove to Worle, and caught the bus replacement to Bristol Temple Meads to head to Cardiff. I honestly don’t think I have seen so many kilts in one place before. The platform started to get quite crowded with a mix of scarlet and tartan, all very good natured and friendly. The trains were absolutely rammed, but we’d managed to find a relatively quiet carriage and settled in for the ride.

Arriving at Cardiff, the atmosphere ramped up tenfold. We’d been in the city on a match day before, but this was something else entirely. When I lived in Sheffield and Chesterfield, I ended up out and about when the local derbies were on, and it felt intimidating. I freely admit, I don’t get the lure of football at all, never have. I don’t really like catching the train back from Exeter when there is something on at St James’ Park, as again, it just doesn’t feel as good natured. Cardiff was completely different. Scottish and Welsh (or supporters thereof) walked hand in hand or side by side down the main streets, and there was a real buzz.

Cardiff Streets

As Matt and I had arrived so early (kick off wasn’t until 4:50pm), we headed to the WRU shop so Matt could pick up a new shirt. Shirt bought, it was time for lunch. Last time we were in Cardiff, we saw loads of places that we wanted to stop at, one of which was Red Hot World Buffet (Matt’s choice, mine would have been one of the steak houses). It was a good idea – our non-paleo meal of the week could be literally any cuisine we fancied. It was an interesting lunch. I decided to start with some salad stuff and sushi, which was pretty good. For mains, I visited Tex Mex, Indian and Chinese. It was okay. Nothing to blow you away. I had a pudding course too, which was fruit and some small (bite sized) pieces of tiramisu, chocolate peanut cheesecake thing and a mango-y cake-y thing. The whole thing was just “okay”. There was nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t really enjoy it. I ate a bit too much (which is silly, as it was probably less than half of what I would previously have eaten, and I wouldn’t have touched the salad). I was definitely glad to get out and walk shortly after lunch. Matt felt similarly, though didn’t have the salad and went for two rounds of different cuisines.

After lunch, I bought a back up SD card, having left mine at home in my laptop (plonker!), and then we headed back towards the stadium to check where our gate was. We still had a couple of hours to kill, so took a walk in Bute Park.

Bute Park Collage

There were quite a lot of dogs being walked, and I decided that humans could definitely learn a thing or two from spaniels. Now, from experience, I know spaniels are the craziest. Blue smartie crazy. So it came as no surprise that this cocker spaniel raced around at a million miles an hour, checking everything out. He looked so happy to just “be”. Puddles? Great! Mud? Brilliant! Humans? Epic! Squirrels? Totally! Life? Amazing! Despite appearing completely scatterbrained, he was also trained (I’m a strong believer that you should invest the time to train a dog well if you’re going to make the commitment to have one). The quietest of calls from his owner, and he was at heel. When asked to sit, it was immediate.

Spaniel

Eventually they headed off in a different direction to us and we carried on up past the fitness trail. It was a really nice walk, despite the chill. I can’t remember when, by my UP3 buzzed to say I had hit my steps target, and by the end of the walk I had clocked up around 13,500 steps. I was pleased about that, as I had decided not to do my Fitness Blender workout on Friday. I was also pleased I’d managed so far, as I had bought some new boots on Friday. My trusty Merrells had started to get a hole in the back of them and I would have cut my heel up something awful if I had worn them. I was in two minds as to whether to try and break in new boots for so long – I like to live dangerously…

We started to head back and got to our gate at about 3:05pm, then waited for the gate to open at 3:20pm. After a bag search and a small queue, we were in just after 3:20pm. Our seats were up in the gods. I don’t think my legs were quite ready for the number of steps we had to climb. It was definitely worth it though – the view was great!

Principality Stadium

The pre-match entertainment got underway, the roof closed (thankfully – it was freezing!) then the anthems were sung, and the match started. I really enjoyed it and sang and chanted my way through with both the Welsh and Scottish supporters. I’ve had Bread of Heaven and Flower of Scotland stuck in my head ever since.

After the match, we headed back to the station via a long (voluntary) detour and hopped on the train back to Bristol. The replacement bus service was still in effect. This was definitely the longest bit of the day. Anyway, we arrived back home at 11pm and hotfooted it to bed. My last look at my UP3 step count was 20,882, which I think is my record since wearing the UP.

UP3 Steps 13 Feb

Today has been mostly about recovering from yesterday with some pottering around the house. I ended up with a blister on my toe, so I haven’t wanted to put shoes on today. It has been a really great weekend though – I haven’t had such fun in a long time. October will see me sat at the computer waiting in a virtual queue for Wales v England or Wales v Ireland tickets next year. In the meantime, we’ll be back at Millennium Stadium for Judgement Day in April.

Have you had a good weekend? Do you watch the rugby?


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The Wedding: Part 3 (Honeymoon)

Following on from Parts One and Two, we’re now on to the days following our wedding.

“For sickness and in health” started somewhat earlier for us.  After any big event (up to this point, mostly exams), I tend to get a rotten cold, and this was no exception.  M and I cleared all the wedding stuff out of the room the morning after our wedding, distributed several bottles of wine to the family, and headed to my parents’ house.  M had to nip back to our flat, so I spent some time with my parents and sister.  It was nice to have some quiet time.

Once M arrived, we opened our cards and presents.  We were absolutely blown away by people’s generosity and kindness.  We got a lot of stuff from our gift list, and a enough cash to start the deposit for our own home.  My sister also gave us money to take on honeymoon so we could have a few treats, which was extremely kind of her.

Quite a long time ago, M and I had discussed where we wanted to go on honeymoon.  Initially we thought we’d like to go back to Tenerife and stay in the H10 Gran Tinerfe hotel.  We’d stayed there in 2012 and had a wonderful time.  As time wore on, we realised that we probably wouldn’t have the time (in terms of holiday), or budget to go straight after we got married.  We thought about postponing the honeymoon until May 2014.  However, as my parents-in-law got married in Cyprus, we decided that having been abroad this year already, perhaps we would enjoy staying within the UK.

For a long time, we’ve been threatening to do the “university tour”.  I went to university in Sheffield, and M went to university in Cardiff.  We agreed that actually, that could be quite a fun honeymoon.  We booked the hotels and the trains, and on Tuesday after our wedding, we jumped on the train at Exeter and headed up to Sheffield.  

We arrived late on Tuesday evening.  On Wednesday morning, we headed up to the Peace Gardens and stopped at Cafe Rouge for breakfast.  I ordered eggs benedict and M had croque madame.  It was a good start to the day.  Once breakfast was finished, we started on a wander up to Collegiate Campus which is where most of my lectures were.  It was great wandering through the Devonshire Quarter and up to Ecclesall Road.  A real trip down memory lane.  It was great to show M where I spent a good few years “growing up”.  After I’d shown him where I’d lived, we headed back towards the city centre, stopping for a wander through the Botanical Gardens.  I haven’t seen so many squirrels for a long time.  One even climbed up M’s leg!  I have never known a squirrel so brazen!

Botanical Gardens

It was getting a bit chilly, and also getting to lunchtime.  I had planned to go to Varsity on Ecclesall Road, as I spent a vast (probably too much, actually) amount of time in there in my third year at uni, and I was looking forward to a Southern chicken baguette.  Sadly, as we got closer, I realised that it had shutdown.  On to Champs we went.  Deprived of my Varsity trip, I settled on a Malibu and cranberry juice – my normal uni drink (in the day time anyway).  Ah it tasted good…

Drink of choice

After lunch, we wandered back through town, up the Moor (which is in the process of being redeveloped – it’s looking much better already!), and to the tram.  M hadn’t been on a tram before, so I thought that would be fun.  Off we headed to Meadowhall.  I really enjoyed this.  Cribbs Causeway has nothing on Meadowhall and I do miss it.  Whilst there, we shopped for a bit, then decided to have tea and catch a film.  Tea was all you can eat Thai.  There were jelly fish in their partition tank.

Jellyfish centrepiece

They were great!  The food was ok, good for the price.  The film we (well, I) chose was Captain Philips.  I don’t often enjoy the cinema, but this film was brilliant – a real weepy at the end.  

Day two in Sheffield wasn’t actually in Sheffield.  For a period after uni, I lived in Chesterfield and worked in Annesley.  I duly dragged M around Chesterfield and had lunch in one of the local pubs before looking in the church.

DSCI0019

The museum had opened since I’d left too, so we had a whizz through there before heading back to Sheffield to collect our bags.  

We were on the 17:30hrs train to Cardiff, again, arriving at night.  It was raining when we arrived, and the weather continued thus.  We got a bit lost trying to find the Premier Inn, but we found it in the end.

Every time I go to Wales it is raining.  This proved no exception.  We had a Premier Inn breakfast to fuel us on our travels and did the same in Cardiff as we had in Sheffield.  We walked up to M’s halls then back via his house.  I quite liked Cardiff, though I admit I am less keen on the weather and leaf mulch.  We stopped for lunch in Kappucino’s where M used to get his lunch.  It was delicious and I had the most heavenly tasting toffee apple muffin for pudding.  Unfortunately the rain hadn’t let up at all and we were both dripping wet (hence the lack of photos too).  We stopped off in the National Museum in an attempt to get dry (and cultured!).  

Tea was a prawn salad from Marks and Spencers for me and a Club Sandwich for M.  After many days of rich food, I was beginning to crave clean foods.

On Saturday, the rugby was on (Wales v South Africa) and I experienced quite a surreal day.  Sheffield has been my only experience of large sporting events (that aren’t motorsport), and the football always seems to have a menacing atmosphere that I never enjoyed.  There was always a strong police presence, and the two sides never met.  Rugby was completely different.  Springboks and the Welsh walked side by side down the street, drank in the same bars, and smiled at each other.  I saw a whole three policemen out on patrol.  The atmosphere was lively and friendly.  We spent the morning shopping and soaking in the atmosphere, as M proudly wandered the streets in his Welsh shirt.

When in Wales

We came home on Saturday, and barely had time to sit down with a cup of tea before we headed out for a friend’s party.

It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I am ready for normal life to resume!  Just with a different surname!