Working at my cobbled-together-for-covid-still-totally-fine makeshift standing desk in the kitchen a few nights ago, I was distracted by a peculiar noise. Like somebody with a cold hyperventilating, and coming from the bottom of the thick beech hedge alongside our garden, it was loud enough for me to hear it even though the windows and door were closed.
I swung the door open and was astonished to see a long, black and white striped face fossicking along: a badger!
As promised we hosted another g10k running event and barbecue this weekend. Thanks to all who signed up, came along and joined in. The British so-called-summer did its best to throw us off course, sending lots of people scurrying under a smallish tent at one point. Spirits were undampened (I was already wet from this year’s upgraded water fight) and the bouncy castle got an outing later on.
Nine runners this year, with a speed range of 1.
Findings from the world of nature: on a visit to Edinburgh Zoo a little while ago, we watched as Tian-Tian the panda lazily munched on some bamboo. Next to her was a bowl of “nuggets” - some sort of protein boosters, and loads of magpies and jackdaws were nipping in and stealing the nuggets. The keeper remarked how brave the birds were and, on questioning, revealed that Tian-Tian had caught and eaten several feathery meals since she arrived in the UK in 2011.
Girton recently lost a big tree - I think it was a holm oak. Until a couple of weeks ago it had a great spot right in the middle of the village. Things feel stark without it. It’s going to be replaced - but it will be tens of years before anything comparable has grown up.
Out running recently I found this “Woodland welcome” sign. There are some saplings just out of shot but I don’t think I’ve done it an injustice.
Girton’s “trim trail” is where I go a couple of times a week to do exercises that normal people probably don’t do, or do in a gym.
This evening it looked particularly unappealing: the pull-up bars were at the centre of a pond. I am proud to say this didn’t prevent me using them; I estimate the extra weight of water that filled my trainers at only around 1kg.
How do you (reasonably fairly) handicap a race without information about the competitors' abilities?
The idea of handicaps is a pretty simple one: it’s used in golf, chess, tennis and horse racing. It relies on participants' performance data being available, and being trusted: if I’m expected to go round the course in three shots fewer than you, I’ll start with a three shot penalty, and then we’re equally likely to win.