(Golden)Twit Twoo, Here’s Lookin’ at You

I think this blog needs a little warning; if you do not use Twitter, some of this may be lost on you, but it’s childs play. Read on and you’ll see, it’s dead simple.

It’s that time of year again; the central heating is cranked back on, you lay awake all night coughing and then when it is time to get up, it’s pitch black and chilly. Bed seems like a much nicer option and I find it increasingly hard to get up on a winters morning. But this morning it was all different; I dragged myself out of bed after cowering under my duvet for a good five minutes. With stiff ankles cracking and sleep blurring my vision, I stumbled over to my laptop. Through the blur, I could see that not only had I received a #followfriday at 5.49am, someone had nominated me for a GoldenTwit award.

Now, I don’t really subscribe to this #followfriday mullarkey; does anyone ever see it and actually follow me off the back of it? I’m not sure that they do, but it’s lovely to be recommended by people. Even if they are your friends and you would make their lives miserable if they did not. It’s just nice to have someone saying something nice about you.

Until this morning, I wasn’t aware of The GoldenTwit awards. I had no idea what they were, but I was delighted to find that I had been nominated for one. I don’t have thousands of followers, but I like to think that all 116 of them were in for the long haul and enjoyed my twerping. So I clicked on the link to explore the GoldenTwits and I was welcomed into a world that celebrates the little things people say. Some of the best things have been said in 140 characters; there is a reason that the likes of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain were so concise. Obviously not all of their best quotes fit into 140 characters, but that is why the likes of WordPress exist. Micro blogging and ordinary blogging go hand in hand; I couldn’t live my life in 140 characters, but it’s a great way to amuse and abuse your friends.

So it seems all the Twitter Greats have been nominated for the GoldenTwit awards; David Schneider, Mrs Stephen Fry and David Cameroon (@TheFuckingPM) are all there. I realise that I am not anywhere near their level of greatness, but I would be delighted if all my lovely friends voted for me regardless. (All is fair in love and twitter.)

When I went onto the GoldenTwit website, I discovered that I had to answer some questions, in order to win people’s votes. The questions were as follows:

Why do you deserve a Golden Twit award?

When tweeting, what are your objectives?

What have you achieved?

What’s your favourite Twitter application?

Why should people vote for you?

How would you describe twitter to non-tweeters?

Now it is all very well amusing people as a by-product of entertaining yourself and chatting to your friends, but this is a lot more scary. Answering these questions with just 140 characters is incredibly pressuring; suddenly I have to be funny on demand. Dance for me monkey! I like to think that my tweets entertain now and then, but I do not soley write them for that purpose. So I have spent my evening trying to work out the best thing to write? Do they expect me to be sincere or humerous? Did they want me to genuinely try and win people over?

I tried to answer the questions seriously, but in all honesty, I have not managed to achieve anything in my twitter life and I don’t really have any objectives for goodness sake. Twitter is a subconscious thing, it is like talking or thinking and not something I use for business. So, I decided to bluff over my obvious inadequacies with sarcasm and flippancy.

What did I write? Well, you’ll have to pop on over to http://www.goldentwits.com/user/SillyBry to have a gander. (Oh and if you don’t vote for me while you are there… well, I will be having words. Except that I probably will be too embarrassed, so I’ll just ignore it in that irritating British way. But I’ll think some pretty nasty things.)

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How to cure a cyclist

This week’s blog takes the form of an instruction guide, full of handy hints and tips. I have done this because I know when I joined this strange and unknown world, I would have loved for someone to have been there before me, with the essential do’s and don’ts.

There are three very important things to remember when attempting to cure cyclists and I will outline them here.

The first, and perhaps most important point, is that you cannot cure a cyclist without his (or her) bike. The bike is an incredibly important part of the cyclist. Afterall, without their bicycle, they are just a person and people can get a little funny if you try to cure them without cause, rhyme or reason.

Secondly, whilst cyclists are not an aggressive breed, they may not take too kindly to you chasing them down the street with a butterfly net and a syringe filled with tranquiliser. Try and remember that they do consider themselves to be “human” and as such, you will need to be confident in explaining the key reasons why, as a cyclist, they need curing. Explain to them that everyone else on the road adheres to certain rules, such as red traffic lights and it is their lack of respect for these things, which get children knocked down. If they come back at you, telling you they are reducing their carbon footprint, then explain that they are the ones arriving in the office pink and sweaty. Then take a step back and say “ner, ner na ner ner.” It works a treat every time. It is also worth pointing out to them that strapping a flashing light, the size of the head of a matchstick to the front of their bike, does NOT mean it is safe for them to cycle in the dark. As a cyclist, you are very vulnerable on the road, so ride like it! Don’t just swing out in front of cars, or cycle in the pitch black along busy roads. (It is worth noting that it is more worthwhile curing a cyclist whilst they are still alive. Arriving at the accident scene with your butterfly net can be seen as both tasteless and ironic. Plus, you have the difficulty of deciding who should get the cyclist – after all, you aren’t allowed to pick up any roadkill that you hit.)

The third tip, which I wish someone had told me before I started out on my journey is this: add a spoonful of sugar to the salt cure and to get a really top flavour, consider a honey roast dressing. Cyclists are naturally very salty (from all that sweat), so you need to exercise a little caution about adding too much salt during the curing process. A dab of sugar just sorts the balance out.

I’m sure you all have tried and tested curing recipes, so I won’t patronise you and bore everyone with the details of that. But I have just a few do’s and don’ts for along the way.

Do use a good quality cut of thigh. There won’t be excess fat on a cyclists thigh and it cooks so very well.

Don’t try to knock them down on the road. Firstly, it’s seen as very unsporting to catch one when they are down. Secondly (as discussed earlier) you cannot claim any roadkill you have knocked down yourself.

Do make sure they are clear why you are doing this; as a driver, a cyclist is one of the most irritating of road hazards.

Don’t be tempted to use a tranquiliser dart from a distance when they are cycling; although the results are visually entertaining, it is not sporting.

Now, I think you are ready to enter the world of curing; good luck and most of all, enjoy!

Is this how Shakespeare felt?

Despite a love of English literature as a whole, there are obviously some parts than I love and some that I loathe. I have never been a fan of poetry; obviously there are some parts that I really like, but they tend to be the simple stuff like Betjeman. (If you ask anyone what poet they really like, I guarantee you that it’ll be one they studied. Noone seems to travel outside of their studies in the world of poetry. I find it far easier to name poets that I dislike; Pound, Bishop and Dove are ones that spring to mind. (I can just hear my personal tutor at uni telling me off as I write this.)

When it comes to drama though, I’m a completely different kettle of fish. I love drama of all ages and types. I love the good old renaissance stuff – Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson and that malarkey. Then the modern stuff is brilliant too – Pinter, Stoppard, Osborne and I could go on, but I risk losing my (one) reader. I don’t know whether it is because you can visualise drama in front of you and can envisage how the characters would react or whether it is just because I’m too stupid to look for the hidden meanings and messages in all that dreary poetry. You can shape drama however you like; half of the interpretation can be created in the performance. (Wow, my old tutor, Grace would be proud of me.)

I also love performance, whether it is comedy or drama, I love seeing something live. Seeing something live always involves risk, especially in a lot of the improv shows that I like to see – they could mess up, but surely that’s the excitement? If you get to see them make a mistake or corpse, you have seen something that hundreds of others have missed. I would rather see people take the risk trying to create something amazing and failing slightly than see something mediocre that is the same, night on night.

I think this is what was running through my mind on the evening that I volunteered to write a play. Whilst I was at uni, I had a go at writing some comedy and scripts with comedy compadre (and ex-blogger) Jo. Sadly, we only realised about our common love and ambition in our third year, so we never managed to be a part of any tacky uni revues or the such like. Still, we spent far longer on our uni based comedy than we did on our actual work. It didn’t come to anything, but we had such fun writing it and imagining it. So in a momentary pause between all the mad things I am trying to cram into my life at the moment, I sat down on twitter to find the Director of the Nottingham Comedy Festival asking Jo to write a play. The phrase that comes to mind for what I did next is “speak in haste, repent at leisure.” I daftly volunteered that we would write a play. But Helen, the lovely NCF Director, seems to have taken us very seriously. She has offered to cast it and direct it, which means that we really do have to write something.

All of this sounds like I don’t want to do it and I do, but I’m petrified. For a start, I am so manically busy for the next month, I can’t even remember my own name without getting in a flap, let alone penning a play. But the most terrifying part of it is, what if it’s appalling? What if it turns out that neither Jo or I can write for diddly squat? I’m not sure that I’m ready to find that out just yet. I really love the modern style plays where it is very static and not much happens, which is handy as they say you must write about what you know and it turns out, I know very little. Seriously though, I really like the kind of plays where very little happens and I happened upon the scripts of Jim Sweeney’s plays on his website, which has been a godsend. The way the characters speak sounds so natural and it made me realise that not that much has to happen to make a really interesting story.

So, after some brainstorming and waking up in the middle of the night, I have had some promising ideas. Now to turn those ideas into a reality in between the bouts of regret, self hatred, doubt and diminishing confidence. I’m sure everyone has the same feelings before they begin writing. Is this how bloody Shakespeare felt before he started his first play?

Fancy a Game of Life?

One of the things that is definite about modern life is that if you create something that captures the public’s imagination, the remakes, spin offs and franchises will fund you well into your retirement. For some reason, unbeknown to me, the American audiences are unable to watch the original British version of something; they need it to be remade especially for them. Do they not know how much we lived off American sitcoms as teenagers? Watching the new series of Friends was such a ritual – it was played on Sky a month or so earlier than it was on Channel 4. I clearly remember that Hannah’s next door neighbours had Sky, so they would record it onto a video for Hannah and then we would all borrow it after her. Sure, there were some jokes that we wouldn’t fully appreciate because they mentioned places in America that we may not know, but it was all about watching people from a different culture. We were able to believe that six friends could live this affluent lifestyle and do nothing but drink coffee in America. Had it been in England, we may not have believed it. Anyhow, many tv shows have been remade: The Office, Teachers, Life on Mars and very nearly, Spaced.

Some of our best loved stories have been remade for film; I ask you, how many more remakes of Sherlock Holmes do we need? It has nearly caught up with Robin Hood now. We saw how mad Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) got when they thought their beloved baby was being pilfered from under their noses, so think how old Shakespeare must feel. His plots have been used from here to Kingdom come in stories, plays, films and songs; Westside Story and Ten Things I Hate about You to name but two. Of course, Shakespeare didn’t have the ideas first; he nicked them off some other bugger first. Stealing and “redefining” stuff is a great part of our culture; it always has been and it always will be.

Bearing this in mind, I started to think about our childhood games. They modernized Austen’s Emma into Clueless to appeal to the kids, Pride and Prejudice became Bridget Jones Diary, so why can’t we rework our board games? Think about it logically. Cluedo was quite ahead of it’s time in some ways; it had respected members of society accused of murder. I’m not sure that there are many games designed today that would accuse a Reverend of murder. There are other parts of the game that need modernizing though. Have you ever met or read about anyone who has suffered from the menace of the candlestick? Perhaps Chloroform would be a better substitution? Although I’m not quite sure how they would represent that in miniaturized form.

I plan radical changes to the Monopoly set. Instead of collecting all four train stations, perhaps you could buy a parking slot for your bike at each station? Then we could scrap the income tax and replace it with the Congestion Charge. Another thing that would have to be introduced was Community Service; in this day and age, you never get arrested and sent straight to prison, you always get the choice of community service. So, perhaps instead of going to jail, you can miss two goes whilst completing your community service? I think we should scrap the old fashioned ideas like winning a crossword or a beauty contest and replace them with things like “you got through to the second round on X Factor” or “you’ve won Big Brother, lose a life (if you have one) and win £500.” The negative cards could include “you had far too much to drink last night and had your bag stolen last night. Cancel your credit cards, report it to your mobile phone provider and lose £150.” We could compromise with “You have bought a new iPad. Go forward three steps, but lose £300.” Another of my favourites would be “You made the mistake of trying to go down Oxford Street during the Christmas rush, miss a turn”, perhaps followed swiftly by “You were cautioned by a Community Police Officer for aggressive pedestrian activity, pay a fine of £100.”

The Game of Life is another game in drastic need of modernisation. For a start, you could introduce the growth of polytechnics and further education colleges. When you get the choice of which way to go, you could then discover that you thought your university was reputable, but now they are running out of money and have closed your department down; miss two goes whilst you protest and then take a lower paid job at the end. This could carry on with things like “you forget to register your baby for school before it is born, watch it plummet down the social spectrum. You don’t miss a go, but will have a guilt ridden life.”

I get very upset when the things that I love get remade, but I think that board games could be so much more fun this way. Imagine your eight year old son proudly telling you that the murderer was the Reverend with the Cloroform in the loft extension. It would make life so much more entertaining. I’m all for this idea; who is with me? Together we can bring the big companies down and create Tomorr-opoly or Not Got a Fucking Clue-do. Happy days.

So I’m a dillylaplodochiphobic. And what?

I normally consider myself to be a relatively laid back and placid person, sometimes to my detriment. I’m all for an easy life and if I can do something to stop arguments and disagreements, I’ll do it. Equally, I don’t really get het up or wound about things; I don’t scream hysterically about spiders or earwigs because they just can’t harm me. If I lived in Australia however, I can assure you I would be very different!

There are a few things that do really wind me up and none of them are rational or have any rhyme or reason. I shall endeavour to share some of my most hated things and perhaps you will understand, nod knowingly and not judge me. You are well within your rights to cackle like an imbecile and cast me aside from your address book forever more, such is the insanity of my little niggles. (No, that is not supposed to be a euphemism.) I know a lot of these probably have long and exciting names, but I can’t be bothered with that nonsense. I’m sure it’s just someone with a sense of humour inventing them; afterall hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is a fear of long words. Bastard.

Ok, so we’ll start with a pretty standard one; clowns. Everyone is scared of clowns right? Well, they should be. For a start, their makeup is worse than that of Pat Butcher and less subtle than Katie Price. Anyone that has a thick, white crust of makeup slapped across their face has to be hiding something. There is the old cliché about the tears of a clown, but it has to come from somewhere. They are going out dressed as someone else, picking on small children; they cannot be happy in themselves. If you are in any doubt, don’t forget their past history; John Wayne Gacy, or “Pogo the Clown” as he liked to be known, who abused and murdered 33 teenage boys. I think that all those American horror movies involving clowns ought to make us suspicious enough about them before we even think about the real life psychos.

My next fear is possibly less normal; Weetabix. I’m sure a lot of you dislike Weetabix, but does the mere smell of it make you nauseous? It’s pathetic. I’m twenty three years old and I ought to know better, but I am an irrational, nervous wreck when it comes to this particular brand of breakfast cereal. I think what put me off Mephistopheles’ munch was a year 7 school trip, where I ate the most dry Weetabix without a drink; I was picking that junk out of my braces for weeks. First of all, we’ll start with the taste. I don’t actually remember what Weetabix tastes like it’s been so long since I’ve eaten it, but I do remember that it manages to suck every little bit of liquid from your body, so you are left chewing dry, mulch for what seems like years. It is so unbelievably dense that I cannot believe that it is sold as food. As far as I can tell, the only purpose for Weetabix is as bricks in areas at risk of flooding. All the liquid would be soaked up by the wheaty biscuits and the houses would stay as try as a bone.

I know what you are thinking; if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Unfortunately, I have young nieces and nephews who eat it. It takes a great deal of self-control for me to feed it to them; even the feeling of it getting under your nails as you pull it from the pack is enough to set me on edge. Cooking it gives it one of the worst smells in the world; it smells like a rat died in the microwave and then quicker than a builder’s cement, it has turned into a solid lump of mulch. It seems to climb out of the bowl and glue itself to your fingers so that you will unknowingly get that lukewarm, vomit smelling concrete onto your lips. It is food of the worst order. I would rather go hungry than eat Weetabix. It has got to the point that I feel a bit nauseous just handling it.

The final hatred that I will unleash on you today is of those TWATSS. For everyone who is unaware of what that means (which is everyone bar me) it is Tossers Who Abbreviate Totally Stupid Stuff. None of you knew what I was talking about, which I expect made you feel a little bit of inferiority, loathing and jealousy. I say a bit because you may not know that you felt that way, but you definitely did, even if it was subconsciously. When I was younger, LOL and ROFL were the choice phrases, but realistically we only used it when we had nothing better to say. As a regular twitterer, I have noticed that I’m behind the times and the favoured phrases of today seem to be FTW (for the win) and FML/FMW (fuck my life/week). Firstly, for the win doesn’t make sense! I have never heard anyone utter the complete phrase for the win. As for FML, has life got so damned terrible that you can’t even utter three monosyllabic words? Get a spine.

Within this hatred, I shall include people who use “text language”. I can cope with people sending me text messages in long hand text language, even if I don’t partake in the practice myself. I understand that is what it is there for, even if I would rather spend the extra ten pence and explain myself properly. But where it really gets on my wick, my goat and everything else, is in email and normal writing. Perhaps it is the difference between someone who writes with a love of words and someone who writes to get information across. But words aren’t difficult to use, you can use them to make people laugh, cry, love you and hate you. What’s not to like about that? It allows the shy people to feel big and clever and occasionally superior against the illiterate, mouthy sods.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those fascists who are intent on keeping English from changing; the language has to move and mould itself along with the society and culture it is within, just use it properly. That sounds incredibly hard-line and typical of an English graduate, but I don’t mean to be cruel. I am as likely to misuse words as anyone else (my friends will attest to that); I just wish people would appreciate them more. Don’t just use them to hurriedly pass information across to someone else, slow down and appreciate their magnificence. The world is built on words (and perhaps numbers.)

It is these hatreds and fears that make us the individuals we are, and I’m definitely individual; how many other people do you know that get in a cold sweat if a clown sent them a poorly written text message proffering weetabix?

Bryonopsis – It’s all about Me.

Now, the gardening pedants out there will now that I have grossly misused the term “Bryonopsis”, as it actually means “to look like Bryony”, but I like to think of it as an elision between Bryony and synopsis, thus making it a Bryony based summary.

My name has been both a blessing and a curse to me; as a slightly lisp-y child who struggled to define her r’s, it made the whole questioning process of “and what’s your name?” slightly traumatic. Watching a small child slowly turning red as she attempted to get her tongue and teeth around Bryony, which inevitably turned into “Bwwynee”, must have caused my primary school teachers some pain and/or amusement. Once I established how to say my name, it started to provide much fun, albeit mostly for my classmates, as the time to take the register could double as the supply teachers stumbled over my name. Through the variety of mispronunciations, all sorts of nicknames would appear and whilst some disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared, others have followed me around ever since. Thankfully, Cheese Wood was only mentioned once (apparently Bryony sounds like Brie and mahogany), but Brindaloo, BVY, Silly B, Bry ‘n why, and many others have become pretty standard for me over the years.

Not only can the pronunciation be a real difficulty, the spelling can cause havoc; Brianny, Byrony, Brionee and Briony are common mistakes. Now I know that some parents misguidedly call their children Briony and I just don’t understand why. The Latin is Bryonia. I do not see a B-R-I there and it’s not as though Briony looks pretty. Bryony with the two ys looks a lot more balanced and correct. Now, don’t even get me started on Byrony, which I have also been endlessly by the way. When it is pronounced Bryony, why on God’s earth do you think it should be spelt Byrony? For goodness sake! (Yes, I am aware that I am riddled with issues…)

The name Bryony may not be a Roman Goddess or Pagan warrior, but it still has very important and regal roots. Bryony is a small but poisonous weed. It looks enchanting and pretty with little, curly tendrils springing away from the delicate, cream petals, but in actual fact, it is fatal if ingested. So, this little weed is a temptress, she entices everyone and then in a dreamy trance, people take some of her succulent berries, not realizing that she’s now cackling in delight at the trick she has played on them. Well, that’s a nice thing to be named after, isn’t it? Especially when you discover that the Welsh are particularly fond of calling it the Devil’s Turnip, which sounds like a euphemism for Mephistopheles’ manhood. Why thanks Ma!

One thing that I have learnt from various scout outings, Tesco shifts and late nights down the pub, is that a name like Bryony works quite well in certain songs; Brindaloo was a firm favourite during the 98 World Cup and after the release of Mark Ronson’s album a few years back, the Tesco tills would be ringing with the sound of Bryony, sung to the tune of Valerie. Nowadays, there aren’t too many hit songs that would fit Bryony into the chorus. Can you imagine Usher or Chipmunk singing about Bryony? No, neither can I.

According to all the usual dubious name definition websites, if you meet a Bryony, you’d be in for big win if you bet against her being British. Nearly 90% of all Bryonys can be found in the UK and apparently, we have been around since the 1700s although I am yet to find any evidence of this. In fact, there were more Myrtles around than Bryonys. I sincerely hope that this is a wrong that has since been corrected.

To be honest, there are very few Bryonys to be found anywhere, although all of them I can find have been honourable and upstanding members of the community. The Navy have named two of their great vessels HMS Bryony; the first fought valiantly in the First World War, taking up the disguise of a regular merchant vessel to infiltrate enemy waters. The second HMS Bryony was hit during an air raid and sunk in 1940, before she had even left the builder’s yard. They decided that the old bird was worth salvaging and they rebuilt her. As a result of her damage, she was the only boat of her class to have a long fo’c’sle with specialist minesweeping equipment on. She went on to attempt to deliver supplies to the forces in Russia in what would become a series of notable attacks; German U Boats and Luftwaffes tracked the convoy and sent waves of attacks through the journey. Thirteen merchant vessels were lost, but the brave and valient Bryony sailed on to Russia. After the war she was sold to the Norwegian army who used the war veteran until 1980 as a weather ship.

Bryonys are rarely seen in the big wide world, but like our brave and noble navy ships they are always high achievers. Perhaps one of the best examples is Bryony Shaw, who took home a Sailing bronze medal for Team GB from Beijing. We always try our damned hardest, even if we aren’t quite good enough, we really do try. Think of Bryonys as the Top Gear team, if you will. We have ambition, but we don’t always hit the mark. Another infamous Bryony is Bryony Gordon, a 3am girl, who worryingly only got that dubious position through bare-faced nepotism. As a collective gang of Bryonys, we have disowned Bryony Gordon from our gang.   Another excitingly ambitious Bryony is the internet sensation, Paperlilies who has conquered myspace, the blogosphere and youtube with her ambitious plans to create a zombie movie.

We’ve also got a playwright, Bryony Lavery who was most famously behind Frozen, a play about kidnap, rape and serial murders. We’re a cheery bunch, which is reinforced by the fictional Briony Tallis in Atonement. Now, I bought the book on the basis that the main character shared my name, even if it was spelt incorrectly! I am only on page 61, so I’m not really in any place to judge, but even at this early stage, she seems like a total psycho. Briony is an introverted 13 year old who is obsessed with writing and her own imagination, but she is definitely a bystander on life; she watches everything happening around her and distorts it for her own mind. But still, I mustn’t judge her. Not until I’ve got a few hundred pages further down the line anyway.

As I write this, I have come to realise that there are actually many different types of Bryony and we aren’t any more successful or special than the Sarahs, Johns or Davids of the world, but I like to think my name is a part of me that makes me special. I like my name and the questions that inevitably come with it. I don’t understand people who want to change their name, after all, it isn’t going to change them as a person is it? What about me? I wouldn’t change my name for the world, not even my middle name Edithlred.

Don’t be Needy, Be Succeedy

This week I bring with me some fabulous news; Laura is awake and talking! She can recognise members of her family and knows details about her friends with little prompting. Obviously the road to recovery is still very long and winding, but it’s just so brilliant to have her back with us. It seems hard to believe that just three weeks ago everything was normal and hunky dory. I’m full of confidence that now she awake, Lor will try her utmost to fight everything and get herself back to normal. On a slightly less fantastic front, I am still without a buddy for my big Scotland challenge (http://www.scotlandcoasttocoast.com/challenger.html) despite my extensive and frivolous advertising.
It is at this point that I feel I should make a little confession; despite my obvious enthusiasm for raising copious amounts of money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (for Laura), I haven’t actually run since October. That is around seven months and not ideal for someone who is planning to run and cycle 109 miles in four months time. On Wednesday, I was lingering around twitter for want of something better to do and I saw that someone who I am following had entered a 10km run just down the road from me. Now, if he can drive an hour through central London to go for a run, I could probably stumble out of bed and drive the 7 miles towards Slough to get there. Buoyed by the ML (or motivitalised location to the untrained ear) and the positivity of my fellow runner, I entered the race with great relish and enthusiasm.
Having entered the race and parted with my hard-earned £15, it suddenly occurred to me that I really had to do the race. I spent the next hour wailing into the echoing depths of my office, batting away inane mocking from my colleagues and creating a hundred point list about exactly why I should not, and generally don’t, run. Although the feeling of dread and certain humiliation did not leave me, I was reminded of my £15 entry fee, which I was certain I did not want to wave goodbye to. It was at this point that I turned to my fellow runner/bastard that coerced me into running (delete as the mood takes you). He gave me what has possibly been the best advice possible; he told me about his Bible – The A to Zee to Motivitality – written by gansta motivator L Vaughan Spencer.
Immediately upon purchasing the book, I discovered that the extent of your success is very much dependant on how many copies you purchase. So I dug deep and bought another six copies. As Tesco so rightly say, “Every Little Helps!” Although this book has been aimed at businessmen and for corporate advice, I found so many useful tips in it. Although I was unable to fit a course of nutritional counselling in with L Vo before the race, I managed to take the basic principles from the book; in order to succeed, I had to apply Spellology to my diet. So, I threw away the pasta and porridge, which I had planned to eat pre-race and went out on the hunt for food beginning with my initials. As such, I lived on bananas, Bovril, beetroot, halibut and hare. All served with brown sauce, naturally.
So now I was well fed and nearly ready to race, but before I could get on the starting line, L Vo had some advice about my appearance. He advised me to take off the grass skirt and boob tube and to dress for success. Now, I usually wear my hair in a side parting, which is apparently terribly bad for my levels of succeediness. So I tied my hair back into a ponytail to keep the dragon of failure away and I was nearly ready to run. My final job was to load my trusty mp3 player up with suitable succeedy songs and moti-music, which were sure to give me a motivational lift on my way round the race.
Finally I was ready and the big day arrived. I arrived in plenty of time and I met up with James, who is a little further down the path to succeediness and righteousness than me. He helped me to prepare for the race by chanting our favourite moti-mantra and loosening our limbs up with a SucceeDance. Once the race got going, I focussed on my moti-music and kept running and running to stop the dragon of doom from pulling me back with him. I completed the entire 6 or 7 miles without walking and although I was slower than fellow succeeder James, I did it. I cannot imagine why James (who has run marathons) managed to complete the race in two-thirds the time that I did, when I haven’t taken a step in my running trainers for 7 months. All I can think is that it is because he has studied under L Vaughan Spencer and is an avid follower of his work. On the back of this, I’m exploring the possibility of going on a variety of courses, such as the Watford Warrior Weekend in the imminent future so that I will manage to get to Scotland and run/cycle the 109 miles for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. There is a chance that I may have to run a little more frequently between now and September, but I think that learning the L Vo philosophy is of far greater importance.

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