Great North sport

I shall use the two photographs below to illustrate the fact that there is a bit of an age gap between Heather and me. I’ll let you observe the pictures and arrive at your own conclusion as to which of us is the oldest. We were at the market on Tynemouth Metro Station on Sunday,  and we came across a wonderful stall selling shiny drinks coasters.   The designs reproduced an array of different iconic posters and images ranging from historic travel advertisements to classic album covers. I sorted out a selection of the mats for Christmas presents, and then I thought that I would choose a single coaster for myself to put on my desk at work. (Our cleaner has mentioned that I leave coffee rings everywhere). Heather decided to do the same. Here is our selection;

Heather's coaster
Heather’s coaster
My coaster

Taste in music highlighted the differences in our ages yet again last Tuesday when we went to see the Pet Shop Boys at the Sage on Gateshead Quayside. I wrote last week that I was curious as to what to expect. The Pet Shop Boys certainly put on an impressive light show, no question about that. I can unreservedly state that the visual extravaganza they provided was marvellous and worth every penny of our ticket money. I just don’t understand why they had to make such a racket while they did it.

One of my favourite musical acts is a jazz singer called Clare Teal. Not only can she actually sing (and really well at that) tickets cost £15 each she starts her shows at the time she says she will start them, and she remains on stage for two hours with her equally talented backing trio. All the things that you would expect of a professional entertainer. Not that I would dream of drawing comparisons……

While we were down on the Quayside last week we observed preparations in force for the celebration of the Great North Run weekend. The GNR is always special, but much more so this year because the one millionth runner crossed the finish line on Sunday afternoon. In excess of 50,000 people take part in the run every year and the vast majority of them are ordinary (or extraordinary depending on how you look at it) men and women. The millionth person to complete the race in the history of the event was a lady from Darlington. Well done to Tracey Cramond who became the one millionth finisher on Sunday afternoon.
Also well done to Mo Farah the first British man to win the GNR since 1985, Britain’s Shelly Woods who picked up her 6th title in the women’s wheelchair race, Spain’s Jordi Madera who won the men’s wheelchair event, and Mary Keitany who won the elite women’s run setting a new course record in the process.  Britain’s Gemma Steel came second so a good day for GBR all round. Most important though, were the 56,994 others who ran with them. Newspapers today should really carry a warning, this last week especially there has been so much horror reported in the press and on TV news. The Great North Run is a reminder that human goodness always outweighs the bad; it only seems to be the other way around because the goodness is under reported.

I’ve done the run myself a few times but back injury renders it impossible now. It would have been nice to have gone down to the start on Sunday and cheer the runners on (even though I’m rather jealous of them) but we had our own sporting event to attend to. Cricket.

As you will realise I like football.  I don’t understand rugby but I think I could get into it. I can tolerate the tennis because it’s only really on for two weeks of the year, but cricket – I hate, detest and loathe. It has something called “overs”. Let me tell you it’s never bloody over; the same match can go on for days, weeks, months – if not years. So far as I can see it’s a bunch of people standing in a field, and yet it keeps Heather entranced for hours on end. Not just Heather, but all the rest of my family too, including my 92 year old mother. When it comes to what I consider to be a healthy dislike of cricket, I’m all on my own. Nevertheless it’s important to support your other half (she does after all let me drag her around the country to see Clare Teal) so when she said she wanted to play in a charity cricket match on Sunday I willingly agreed to go along. The venue was Tynemouth and it was the most gorgeous September day. We parked up on the sea front and walked to the ground. En-route I bemoaned the fact that I should have remembered to fetch my little foldy up chair.  “Don’t be silly you will be sitting in the stand,” Heather assured me. We got there and we found the stand. This is it.

Prior’s Park Cricket Stadium (and stand) Tynemouth

Heather scampered off into the horizon and set herself in the middle of the field somewhere, and earnestly began her limbering up routine. It was similar to the one she does prior to her Jane Fonda DVD,  but with a far greater air of purpose and steel. Casual observers would have imagined she was preparing for a cage fight. She stretched one leg up her back, then the other, danced about a bit, bent over, stood back up, puffed her cheeks in and out, ran on the spot and punched the air. Then the game commenced and there she stood – for an hour and a half rooted to the spot. I rendered my full support (obviously) while reading the Sunday Times;  I discovered I could easily manage to do the two things at once.  She left the pitch triumphantly muttering something about someone being out for 67. She then examined the data on her Jawbone. The Jawbone has nothing to do with her face but is a little bracelet attached to her wrist that times and measures activity. Over the course of 90 minutes playing “sport” she had moved .25 of a mile, and most of that would have been accounted for when she walked on and off the field. I think I’ve made my point really.