The Guinness Six Nations 2020.

Today sees the start of the Guinness Six Nations 2020. This will be the 21st Six Nations Championship, the annual rugby union competition contested by the national teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. As Wales meets Italy in the first match of the Championship I am reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’:

If

by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

So come on England!

The Pianist of Yarmouk by Aeham Ahmad

The Pianist of Yarmouk

The Pianist of Yarmouk by Aeham Ahmad

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The inspirational story of Syrian-Palestinian pianist Aeham Ahmad, who lived through and escaped the hardship and desperation of the Syrian war and siege in Yarmouk, near Damascus. Ahmad became known worldwide after videos of him playing piano on the bombed out streets of Yarmouk were posted on YouTube.
This is Ahmads narrative of the displacement of Syrian refugees, his journey to Europe and the power of music to give him hope in a desperate situation.

‘I’m a pianist…. My revolution is music… Music was going to be my form of protest…’ p.170



https://www.unrwa.org/crisis-in-yarmouk

https://www.bing.com/search?q=pianist…





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Parkrun Virgin

Saturday I ran my first Parkrun

Parkrun UK

Parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in:https://www.parkrun.org.uk/

I ran in the Eastbourne Shinewater Parkrun.

https://www.parkrun.org.uk/eastbourne/

Up until now I had only run on my own. I started running just over a year ago with the Couch to 5K App. I have gradually built up my running distance after finishing Couch to 5K to about 11K, albeit it takes me a while! I’m training for the Eastbourne half marathon in March, so as part of my training and to experience running with others I decided to do a Parkrun. I went into it feeling fairly confident. That soon disappeared when I arrived. I felt way out of my depth among all those pro-looking runners in their ‘on trend’ running gear, stretching and jogging on the spot, warming up as we stood waiting to start on a very wet and windy Saturday morning. Then we were off and I was bunched in the crowd. At this point I felt more confident and started to enjoy it. I started off faster than I’d like but found my pace once the fast runners shot off. However it quickly became apparent I was a jogger not a runner, although the friendliness and encouragement from the marshals and better runners was welcomed. I kept with it, jogging the whole distance. The going was slippery and full of deep puddles. I didn’t come last! I came 235 out of 257 with a time of 36.58. Safe to say I was in the slower crowd but I enjoyed it and will keep going as other commitments allow. I have five months to keep working towards the half marathon. I don’t really mind how long it takes me to run the course. I want to finish and finish in time to get a finishers medal!

I’d like to say I was out front- left the others behind 😂 . Photo by Martin Sales

Braemar navigates the Corinth Canal.

Today Fred Olsen’s Braemar made history as the longest ever ship to cruise through Greece’s Corinth Canal. The canal is 25 metres wide, with limestone walls and connects the Gulfs of Corinth and Saronic in the Aegean Sea.

I wasn’t lucky enough to be there. My partner was and he took these amazing pictures.

I spent an amazing summer hopping the Greek Islands as a seventeen year old. I am restless for a repeat journey.

#ESCBA East Sussex Children’s Book Award

So this year I am involved in this, so will be posting at intervals.

East Sussex Children’s Book Award an annual event run by East Sussex Library and Information Service aimed at raising the profile and value of reading for pleasure. Children vote for their favourite book from a shortlist. A series of author events at schools across East Sussex and Brighton and Hove are organised to which all participating schools are invited and a final celebration at a prestigious Sussex venue to announce the winner is held in June.

Goals

Yesterday I completed Couch to 5K https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/#.

It was an achievement. I wasn’t a runner. Apparently I am now! Today I started Couch to 10K https://apps.apple.com › app › 10k-t…Web results 10K Trainer by C25K® on the App Store – iTunes – Apple.

Flushed with success I skipped straight to stage 9. That was a whole new level. Double the time apart from anything else. Not so cocky now!

And another thing! Anyone that has had a go at Couch to 5K will know that you can chose a celebrity to take you through the programme. Sarah Millican has been my celebrity of choice, babying me along, encouraging me, telling me how well I was doing! With my new app I have an American voice barking instructions at me. Walk! Jog! Guess I don’t need to be told what a clever girl I am now! Now I’m officially a runner!