Monday, 15 February 2016

Big Suffolk Skies

I think I am becoming obsessed with Big Suffolk Skies; I can't help gazing at them, which is not so good when you are meant to be running and looking out where you are going.
Sometimes I just have to stop.
I am not the only one who was obsessed with them so was Sir Alfred Munnings. In his disastrous after-dinner speech at the Royal Academy in 1949* when he publicly attacked modern art he lamented that modern painters could not paint skies nor indeed trees.
In fact he was incensed that  artists could not paint trees saying  that he would kick Picasso in the behind: "For God's sake if you are going to paint a tree make it look like a tree!"
John Constable possibly one of the greatest sky painters ever produced, was also a huge admirer of the Suffolk sky. And so he should be having been born and raised a Suffolk boy. He is known principally for his beautiful landscape paintings of Dedham Vale not far from here.

Constable took his fascination for skies far beyond what was considered normal in his day and said that the sky was "the key note, the standard of scale, and the chief organ of sentiment" in a landscape painting.
He is known to have been influenced by the pioneering work of meteorologist Luke Howard on the classification of clouds; and his annotations of his own copy of Researches About Atmospheric Phaenomena by Thomas Forster show him to have been fully abreast of meteorological terminology.
"I have done a good deal of skying", Constable wrote to a friend in 1821; "I am determined to conquer all difficulties, and that most arduous one among the rest".
I think I must go  'a skying' now....

*Sir Alfred Munnings (1878–1959) publicly attacked modern art in a drunkenafter-dinner speech at the Royal Academy in 1949. He had been president of the RA for five years, pipping Augustus John to the post, but the controversy he stirred up (he called Picasso and Matisse ‘foolish daubers’) led to his resignation and a fall from grace from which neither he nor his reputation  ever recovered in his lifetime.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Last Place

Last October, a few days after my 49th Birthday I got the last place to represent Young Epilepsy in next year's Virgin London Marathon!
I had hoped I would secure the place. I had even prayed, in my own sort of way, but there was enough uncertainty that when the call came to say that I had got the place I was momentarily silent.
Not a natural thing for me - silence.
And then it gradually sank in.
I had got the LAST place.
The full weight of expectation became a reality and I could hardly breathe.
I had got the last place. I was the last person that had been selected to represent them. There were others who put forward their bid and mine won.
This is huge.
Charity places are like gold dust and with nearly a quarter of a million* applying to run next year and approximately 40,000 entries allowed, securing one of those place needs more than running ability.
I had a huge form to fill out  with all my details from why I was running - because my eldest son, now 12, has epilepsy - to what fund raising I had done in the past.
More importantly was how much fund raising I would be doing in the run up  to the marathon. What ideas did I have, what did I think each idea would raise, how I would go about hitting my target of £5,000. It was a kind of risk assessment, I suppose, aimed at testing out my resolve and how committed I would be during the whole process.
The London Marathon is the most successful annual single day charity fund raising event in the world and last year (for the ninth consecutive year running) a new world record of £54.1 million was raised.
No pressure then.
So as well as training for the Virgin London Marathon 2016, I will also be baking, busking, selling,  cleaning, collecting, organising and well, doing anything to hit that target...
I hope to raise more and to that end..well that's another story!

And where will I be training - Suffolk of course! Hence Run Suffolk!

So with just 11 weeks to go I am on the run - literally - and looking to explore Suffolk on a more personal note that just for my car!

*A total of 247,069 people applied for a place in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon following the decision to keep the on line ballot application system for 2016 open for five days. More than 55 per cent of the applications for 2016 were from people who have never run a marathon and more than 42 per cent of the applicants were women. In 1981, less than 300 of the finishers were women. More than 100,000 women have applied to run next year. Approximately 37,800 people ran the marathon in 2015 making it the biggest ever in its 35 year history. More than £770 million has been raised for charity in that time.

If you would like to donate click here to go to my Just Giving Page!