20 May 2009

INTA - Wednesday

We cut the run a little short today, and the group was slightly depleted - though I cannot now remember precisely who turned out. Still, I guess we did about 5 miles. By 0900 I was at my first meeting, with Bayo, after which another meeting failed to happen

In the middle of chatting to Faisal, my next appointment, Dave Musker happened past, and we arranged to get together in London rather than waste valuable INTA time on one another: after which the conversation expanded to take in two people from Ella Cheong, one of whom turned out to be a keen runner and Murakami fan.

I had double-booked myself to see Susannah and Marc at the same time, but fortunately also at the same place. I arrived and found Susannah, having the advantage of knowing her already, but Marc is not someone I had met before. A message arrived on my Bunberry: "wearing a light trenchcoat". I swift pass through the lobby found him in no time, and the three of us sat down together to become acquainted - and I derived much satisfaction, as I had done at other points during the meeting, from introducing two of my friends to each other.

We talked at some length about my propsed article for the TMR, floowing on from some intelligence given to me by Julianne at Perkins Coie about the law on "official marks" in Canada. Susannah held forth on s9(1)(n) of their Act, and agreed to collaborate on the article, which was a good result.

I ran from there to the Red Lion Hotel, where I met Ken - although we went to the Elephant and Casle, the mock English pub in the basement there - I'd known of it for many years, but not been there - or had I? I recall an early listserv gathering with Bob and Marty Schwimmer which might have been there, years ago. Ken and I can get together in London, though, where there will be no need to frequent a place named after one of the least desirable neighbourhoods in London.

Next, Debora from Buenos Aires was a no show, but Dedar Singh Gill from Singapore was there and we enjoyed a good talk, about running as much as anything else (another candidate for IPRun). Later I introduced him to Santosh too, trying to work out what is the significance that they both have Singh in their names - is it just like bneing called Smith or is there more to it than that?

A couple of Aussies that I didn't already know also failed to show up, so I took a quick look at exhibits - just as the final whistle blew on the exhibit hall. I was able to say hello to Rudi, and visit the Appleby stand where I saw Huw but failed to get a rum cake - not really surprising at this later hour. Next was Mohiuddin Adeni, another guy from Pakistan, whom I did know already but was pleased to see again. He reminded me of an old English friend - facial mannerisms - though I won't go into that here, but save it to fictionalise one day perhaps!
Dennis, one of my oldest INTA friends, and I went to Starbucks for a coffee, then I was due to meet Jorge at the Paramount Hotel but there was no sign of him. I had seen him earlier, but we hadn't stopped to speak then as we had a date later. Oh, well, the strike rate was still pretty good.

As I was close by, I called into John Kenny's hotel but he had already left, so I headed off to Bill Seiter's bash, encountering a lady from a Canadian firm on the way who turned out to be the co-host. I found myself suddenly, and unexpectedly, in a completely new circle - at the start there was no-one there I knew, although Wing and Taiji reliably showed up later. I got a cappuccino and an elegant Russian lady gestured to me to invite me to sit at the table where she and her young (and very pretty) colleague were sitting. They explained that they have one man in their office, whose job it was basically to run around after them, and he was immediately dispatched to get cappuccinos for them too. An equally elegant Latvian lady joined my new Russian friend (the younger Russian girl had gone to talk to someone else) and somehow, I cannot explain how the words escaped my mouth, I told her that I had already met as many new people as I could cope with for one annual meeting. She rightly decided that a chat with the older Russian lady, an old friend of hers, was a better prospect, and a discussion of shoes, in Russian, ensued. Served me right.

Bob had asked if I might prefer a pub quiz to the grand finale, and even before my incredible faux pas with the Latvian lady I had decided that it was time for some relief from INTA, so - rather like in Atlanta, where Bob, Paul and I went for a drink before the Grand Finale and eventually, after trying all the beers in the microbrewery which was conveniently across the road from one of the main hotels, and eating a few plates of nachos and things, we decided that the Grand Finale would be just about over so we might as well stay put - I had a completely different evening. It was good to meet some of Bob's ex-students, though I think I was a disappointment to them on account of my inability to answer questions on (Association) football.

19 May 2009

INTA - Tuesday

Another day, another run - 5.4 miles again, with a group that included Matias and Diego, and to which I invited Dave whom I met on the street on my way to the Aquarium. A great INTA moment!
Then Luca for breakfast, and into my round of meetings though I missed the first one with Andreas (wonder where he got to? Perhaps I had failed to confirm.) Then Wilson from Brazil, after whcih I should have met Dilek but couldn't find her - she had the same experience, she tells me in an email a few days later, which suggests that we were expecting to meet in different places! Laura was next, then Wilfredo (rearranged from the day before), and finally (for the morning session) Slawomira (and Katerina)
I met the Kochanskis for lunch, which sadly turned out to be rather shorter than I'd have liked, because I had to get back to see Chetan Chadha at the Convention Centre. Leaving there to go to Perkins Coie's open house I bumped into Marek and Berenika, just as it started raining. Berenika insisted that she could not allow her hair to be ruined so we had to take a taxi to Perkins - a couple of blocks, which clearly did not amuse the (Sikh) taxi driver. Marek reunited me with the pullover I had left in his hire car after the marathon.

The Perkins party produced a large number of new contacts, and I succeeded in meeting Wing and Taiji there as we had arranged and had a short chat. It wasn't as well-attended as I thought it might have been, but everyone enjoyed the view from the 48th floor.

I had promised to look in on my new running friend Dave's firm's reception, wihc I did on the way to Graham & Dunn's party, to which in the end I travelled by taxi, to save a little time and get out of the rain that was now setting in. I'd intended to try to get to the listserv party a few blocks away, and also to see Patricia at G&D, but I'd also fixed to meet an old lawyer friend from Seattle at 6 o'clock at his office - I ended up getting a ride with becky and one of her Amazon colleagues and then running to Tad's office, which turned out to be rather hard to get into - until another person came out and I sneaked in. Then, however, I found the lifts wouldn't take people who didn't know a secret code, so I had to call him to let him know I wa in the lobby and not able to go anywhere else.

Tad and I went for a drink across the road, which turned into a meal as the rain started coming down in stairrods: and by the time it had passed, I was ready just to head back to the Pensione. After all, I had to run again in the morning.

There, another guest - the lady in the next room to mine, with a very nice slight Australian accent - asked me "Was that you outside my room this morning in the red shorts?" (Of course it was - on my way to breakfast, after the run.) "Made my day!" she added.

18 May 2009

INTA - Monday

Hard to credit it, but at 0700 I was out ready to run with Scott, Vicki, Santosh and the Collyer Bristow guys. I might have forgotten about others. Not only was I running - this was not a gentle recovery jog - but on the way back I kept pace with Dan, although it was clear that he wasn't trying as hard as me - and finished a long, long way ahead of the rest. 5.4 miles the morning after a Marathon: I cannot believe it.
My meetings should have started at 0830, but I ended up a little late and failed to connect with Wilfredo from Paraguay, though we caught up later. Then it was Vanessa from DM Kisch in South Africa, Paul Jones (talking about his article for the TMR), Colleen from New Zealand, Woon, Omer (a LinkedIn connection from Mexico), Russell, Marie, and Markus. The Daily News has run an article about the Marathon, with our group photo, although it is elided with a piece about Charles Gielen and a couple of others climbing Mount Rainier for charity after the conference. Still, priceless publicity, given how much they charge to get into the Daily News normally.

Then my Committee meeting, which finished early. I have put myself forward to write an article for the TMR ... Outside the convention centre afterwards I encountered a couple of photographers, who told me they were working for the INTA daily news. One proudly told me he had taken the pictures of Elle McPherson on the front page. "Would you like me to autograph them?" he asked, idicating the copy I was holding. "Would you like me to autographthis?" I asked him in return, holding it open at page 3.

Then the Ogilvy Renault reception, where I find myself with a delightful Australian lady called Mary, from Clayton Utz. I suddenly realise that I have to be at another meeting back in the convention centre - Mr Sheikh, from Pakistan, a charming and distinguished gentleman - and later when I see Mary she complains that I left her with someone terribly boring - I cannot remember who on earth it was, and it was not deliberate!

I missed another meeting, with people from Krishna & Saurastri in India - no sign of them at the meeting point - and then headed off, on foot, for the Meet the Bloggers reception at Graham & Dunn. That should probably be the subject of a posting of its own (though it is getting difficult to recall eveerything that needs to be included now, a couple of weeks later).

INTA - post-Marathon

Hardly able to believe how well I felt, I showered and changed and headed straight off to a reception, with live African music. Not the best venue, because it was dingy and noisy while the music was playing: I couldn't tell, for example, whether the Chinese pair were the ones I was looking for, though I had a meeting scheduled with them for a little later anyway. I also had a little difficulty when Woon popped up as if from nowhere, just like Barbara had done the previous day, and I found myself trying to read her name badge, without my reading glasses, in a darkened theatre, while being held in an embrace. It was a relief to realise I knew her!

My rehydration programme was going well, though I had started using beer for the process. I saw Matt, who promised to come running sometime but never appeared, and introduced him to Woon. He was most impressed with my Marathon exploits, and given his running prowess that was especially gratifying.

I met my Chinese associates, then headed to the Gorodissky party - which in previous years had been a highlight of the confernce, with caviar and vodka in vast quantities, and the home team - numerous people from the firm - in costume. Today, it was a couple of rooms in a hotel suite, locally-sourced refreshments, and a handful of firm members, though both Viktor and Valeria were there. Their Russian costume was limited to scarves worn with standard business suits. The economic crisis must have affected them, though they still seem to be taking skiing holidays in France. I tried to get Valeria to provide me with a few choice phrases to use on queue-jumping oligarchs, but perhaps it wasn't the time or place ... I sat down to eat at a table already occupied by half-a-dozen others, and when the introductions were done it turned out that I was sitting next to another Peter and the striking Swiss lady next to him was Petra - who for some reason proceeded to reach under the table where I was sitting, perhaps for her handbag or something: "This isn't sexual harassment", she assured me, and I wondered whether to suggest that, in that case, she might try again.

The next event was the opening ceremony, with a keynote speech by Elle McPherson, who was brilliant. The same could not be said of the officers of the Association, who read without interest from the autocues. Considering how much this annual jamboree costs, you'd think they could spend a little money on coaching them. I caught up with Neil at this point, and we went together to the opening reception until a combination of tiredness following the exertions of the day and the imminent arrival of someone I was not anxious to see sent me off to bed. Not before we'd chatted to Ethan Horwitz, author of World Trademark Law and Practice and other works. "You're an author," I said to him by way of explanation for why I knew his name. "I write," he countered modestly. "No," I said, "I write, you're an author!"

17 May 2009

Marathon

My Capital City Marathon experience got off to the worst possible start: I failed to wake up. Having calculated that we should set off at 5am, and arranged to meet Marek at that time, I woke at about 5.27 with a feeling that all was not well (and a distant buzzing noise, which was Marek ringing the front door bell). I rushed downstairs, told him I would be two minutes (I lied), grabbed clothes, performed my ablutions and joined him in the car in an incredibly short time.

An empty stomach is not a good basis on which to run a Marathon, so I ate two energy bars on the way - though I was still replete from my previous evening at Bob and Grace's house, where I had rather unwisely loaded up with delicious enchiladas and copious amounts of refried beans. We arrived at junction 104 more quickly than we should have, still with over half-an-hour before the start, but unfortunately we needed junction 105a and had been talking about something else at the material time. It took a couple of minutes to get on the right road, then another couple of minutes to realise that Marek's printout from Google maps had led us to the right street but completely the wrong part of it, a dozen blocks too far south. Still, we parked up, jogged to Sylvester Park (the start of the race, and the end of the Oregon Trail), met Chris, collected numbers, pins and souvenir jackets (supposedly for finishers, but given out at the start), jogged back to the car to drop off surplus stuff, found a passerby to take a photo, jogged back to the park, waited in line for the toilets, rushed to the start and joined in just as it got under way.
Me, Chris, Marek, courtesy of anonymous passerby
The route took us north through the city - the centre of which was behind us at the start - and out past a marina along the side of Budd Inlet before the waterside disappeared behind trees and we turned right, heading down a long, straight road through the woods.

Three sides of a square brought us back to the road we had been following, which took us through attractive countryside, past those typically American wooden barns and well-spaced homes - many large and expensive-looking. Marek and I let Chris go at about Mile 1, which I timed at 8:25, far too fast for me and potentially disastrous for Marek on his first Marathon, and a short time later we found ourselves running with three local lady teachers who were to be our companions, on and off, for the entire morning. There were groups of supporters everywhere around the course, and at least one person in each group knew at least one of the three teachers, many hanging out banners encouraging Mrs Nord: we received a significant lift just by being near them.

Our pace settled down and we continued through the wonderful countryside. Although the race was small, with only 329 people making it to the end, it never got strung out and we were always running with others. At one point a deer ran across the road in front of us, but we saw little wildlife apart from that. The sun was warm, but the roads were mostly shaded by trees and a breeze sprang up as the day grew warmer: the course was slightly undulating, with only one serious climb, up from Woodward Bay at about 15 miles - preceded by an equally steep descent. I was still enjoying the boost given to me by a very vocal female supporter at mile 14 who, seeing my Against Breast Cancer running vest, shouted "A man who wears pink is a strong man!".

Our pace had dropped off a little by this point, falling below 11 minutes for one mile, then I left Marek for a while and clocked a much faster mile before stopping at a drinks station (all of which had water, Ultima electrolyte replacement fluid, and toilets, every two miles: most offered sponges and a couple also had Gu energy gels). I had the most extraordinary feeling, completely fresh as if I were just starting, and the running flowed very satisfactorily.

We had been running with a lady called Darci from Seattle for a few miles - she was alternating running and walking - and now found ourselves in the company of another lady from Seattle, Betsy, wearing a vest that announced her membership of a club called, ominously, Marathon Maniacs. She had already done several this year. As the 20 mile board approached, she remarked "ah, the half-way mark!", indicating me and adding "He knows what I mean". In terms of effort, of course, that was pretty accurate, but for Marek it was unwelcome news and he decided immediately to take a walk for a while. I took off again, seeing my pace increase to near-8 minute miles before I slowed again to run with Jim, from Vancouver, Wa, 68 years old and (he told me) running his 291st Marathon. I stayed with him for a couple of miles, then - with his encouragement - upped my pace again in anticipation of a long, fast descent to the finish. It was all flowing again, and when I came across one of the half-marathon mile markers in the path I hurdled it.

I was on what felt like 5K pace as I passed the state Capitol (Garmin indicated 6 minute miles) and a few blocks further on came to the finish - confusingly, with two separate mats across the road, so I kept my pace up after crossing the first, and indeed hardly slowed until I reached the water station behind the finish area where I was presented with a souvenir water bottle (full of souvenir water). I congratulated one or two others whom I recognised, waited for Marek, then returned to the car where we applied recovery rub to our legs and then drove back to pick up where we had left off at INTA.

Marek asked me in the car if I was familiar with Vladimir Visotski's "Marathon" - actually, I think there is more to the title than that. I wasn't, despite beng a great fan of the man, but I am now.


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16 May 2009

INTA, Seattle: The Start

For the first time, I did INTA properly this year. It's taken me 15 years to learn how to take full advantage of this event: and I am sure that I could still do a great deal better. But I don't have large corporate clients to meet there, no presentations about their trade mark strategy to attend, just a lot of existing friends to meet up with and new friends to make - and as far as the last is concerned, the possibilities are considerable even if there were fewer than 5,000 delegates present this year (as rumour suggested). Certainly there seemed to be many fewer Chinese delegates (or "attendees", though I would have thought the correct word derived from "attend" would be "attenders") and the rumour mill suggested that, wary of being quarantined on their return, they had chosen to stay at home.

My Chinese associates were there, though. Well, perhaps it's a bit much to call them my associates, as I have passed on trade mark registration to them, but I suppose that's enough. That is more than enough to make them old INTA friends - in fact, a couple of minutes acquaintance (or so I say, partly in jest) amounts to a long-standing INTA friendship.

Having become a committee member last year, and therefore entitled to attend (at my own expense, of course) the annual leadership or half-yearly meeting, some of my INTA friendships have moved to a new level: and I have acquired new ones between annual meetings. This year, unlike previous ones, I find myself encountering friends everywhere, and introducing them to one another, which raises the experience to a new level. No more sitting around in the hospitality area hoping to meet someone of interest - I have been through that phase, and feel that I have arrived.

So I arrived in Seattle with a full schedule of meetings starting on the Saturday morning - although the conference proper did not start until Sunday evening. A couple of meetings on Friday, too, but they were almost extra-INTA ones - a Hong Kong lawyer in town for another reason altogether (cancelled when he had to fly back to China) and an old friend who, though in trade marks, has a place in my personal rather than my professional diary. Then dinner with an Indian friend, Santosh - we had met once only, at INTA two years ago, but there have been referrals of work in both directions since. Having met only once, there was a small problem of identifying one another, which required a very short phone call from my British mobile phone via a US carrier to an Indian, which sounds like a potentially expensive exercise. We ate pasta, as befits a pair of runners, preceded by an unnecessary plate of nachos - that alone could have satisfied both of us.

There are two themes to my schedule: a large proportion of my INTA friends are runners - the now-discontinued 5K race was always my primary area of friend-making activity - and a large proportion are female; some, naturally, are both. I took care to arrange meetings with as many of my female friends as possible, as well as organising a running group each morning except the Sunday when some of us had more serious running to do.

Saturday started with a run with Cristobel, which Santosh joined: and as I stretched outside the Aquarium where we had arranged to meet, Patrick and Dan showed up too. I am in two minds about sharing my INTA friends with other English solicitors - but I think it would go against my INTA ethos to be restrictive about it. Dan turned out to be from Sunderland, so we had a lot to talk about as we headed north up the waterside, followed the tracks through Myrtle Edwards Park and Eliot Bay Park, and returned to our starting point. Then, allowing my compatriots to head for their own breakfast engagement, the three of us raced up the 80-odd steps to Western Avenue - Cristobel beat me fairly easily.

We returned to our respective hotels, then gathered outside my Pensione to wait for John Kenny who eventually showed up wearing a very dapper hat and exuding bonhomie as only he can. We enjoyed breakfast together, then John and I headed for the Sheraton where he was to meet an associate from New Zealand and I was later to meet an old friend from Barcelona. Taking our seats in the coffee shop, I spotted Bruce at the next table, in town for the day only and deep in conversation with someone else. Being INTA, I was entitled to interrupt, which I did briefly, and did again when I left my antipodean friends to ask Bruce if could to introduce himself to them before he departed.

Sadly, that was the last time I saw John all week. I don't know where he got to: he was without email or mobile phone, but I suggested receptions at which we might meet later in the proceedings, even blagging him an invitation to one. He got to the Pensione twice, once with a selection of Aussie-themed gifts (a beach towel and a bar of soap among them, neither of which a Pom has much need of) and before he left town a handwritten note. I am so disappointed not to have seen more of him - but where, I wonder, did he get to?

I'd intended to register on the Saturday morning, but discovered that it didn't open until 1 o'clock, so my 12 o'clock with some people from Macao whom was doomed to failure: I must have met at least one of them before, but I had no idea who I was looking for and needed the clue that a delegate's badge would have given.

My carefully-prepared timetable had already gone awry, in fact at the first meeting of the trip when I had booked it in for an hour and a half later than the other party - and the time was her suggestion, so the fault was entirely mine. On Saturday lunchtime, I had also erred: I met Sindre at 1230, then waited for Gonzalo to join us, only discovering after waiting nearly half an hour that his email had said clearly that he would be there at one. But we had a very enjoyable lunch, cut short because I had to leave for a 2 o'clock - which also failed to come off but was promptly rearranged by phone for later in the afternoon. Then it was off to one of the conference hotels, first to have my ego thoroughly overhauled by my two Thai lady friends whose pleasure at seeing me last year at my old firm's reception caused such an impression on my colleagues, and then to see Barbara, a meeting with shom is also very good for the soul. I ended up with all three of them at once - in the lobby of the Paramount Hotel, I hasten to add: this was not some private assignation - which was the start of my four days of introducing people to one another.

I was deep in conversation with Nan and Christy when Barbara approached, unnoticed, and planted a kiss on my cheek - an unfamiliar experience, having women sneak up and do that, but not unpleasant: while it's not reason in itself to attend INTA, it is certainly an attraction. Barbara it was who last year extolled the virtues of running one's own practice, or at least of getting out of Big Law, and she observed this year that I had my smile back - though even at my most depressed I think her approach would have caused a smile.

Then it was back to the Convention Centre to catch my postponed 2 o'clock, with the two Michelines from Montréal; back again to the Paramount for half an hour with a nice lady from Malaysia; and then it was time for some male company and a beer with Michael Graham before Bob collected me to go to his home for the evening, along with Chad and Marco, and Mike Atkins. After eating too many of Grace's enchiladas and far too much refried beans on the side, I finally got back to the Pensione rather later than planned, given that I had to get up in time to leave at 5 in the morning ... so I set my alarm for 0530 ...

15 May 2009

View from the breakfast table

Today is to recover from the journey. Fortunately it's a beautiful day - let's hope it stays like this for the duration, if not of the conference then at least the Marathon!

Sarah in the Maldives

Sarah said she had arrived safely but nice to have it confirmed by the Ministry of Education.

Capital City Marathon and Against Breast Cancer

Before I retire for the night (or, as it is in England, morning, which is what my body clock is thinking), let me post a link to my Justgiving page. With the Capital City Marathon only a couple of days away I've got a respectable amount of sponsorship, but more would always be welcome! I'm running in aid of Against Breast Cancer. Unfortunately pink isn't really my colour, but I'll wear the running vest ...

Finally, Seattle

It's 24 hours since I got up this morning, but I am finally on the last leg of my journey (not counting the walk from where the airport shuttle drops me to the Pensione). It has been a gruelling experience, but I succeeded in sleeping through most of it.

I feel as if I am on familiar territory already - it's nearly 20 years since I first drove up I-5 past King County airport, which I've just seen to my left. And now the towers of the downtown area are in sight, and soon we'll pass the railway station. Have I been here since the Kingdome went?

The coach driver seems a miserable individual: he was profoundly unhelpful at the airport and managed to take an inordinate time to load bags, collect fares and start driving. One fellow passenger gets thoroughly disenchanted with him. But after a couple of stops at downtown hotels he reveals that it's his birthday, unfortunately only after his disenchanted passenger had already left the bus. The remaining passengers sing happy birthday to him, and he becomes much more cheerful

Pensione Nichols, a few blocks from where I alight from the bus, is all that I remember: that feeling of familiarity is stronger and stronger. Now it offers wifi too - last time I was here that would have been unknown! I let myself in from the street using the numeric keypad and a key is lying on the deserted reception desk with a note: "Peter Groves, Rm #6". Perfect. I could use a bed after 24 hours travelling.

14 May 2009

Airport

It gives me an opportunity to use the titlle of a song - by the Motors - that had a particular poignancy for me when it was current, 30 years ago. Ireally don't like airports at all, and today I am going to be experiencing three of them.
To start with, if I wanted to visit a shopping mall that's what I would do. Airports are for leaving or arriving, by air (so expect Leaving on a Jet Plane to feature as the title to a posting shortly). I suppose that, if you require everyone to add three hours to their journey time by checking in well in advance, you have to give them some form of amusement, and shopping is the favourite leisure pursuit of a large part of society (and separating people from their money is the favourite occupation of another large part of it). But anything bought in the airport acquires a completely unnecessary supplement to its carbon footprint. If it is something the traveller wants to use at the other end, that seems more justifiable, but there's so much stuff on sale here that I can't believe is needed. Well, none of it is stuff that anyone actually needs, except the food.
Even at the departure gate, there is a vending machine offering books and magazines (including what appear to be "one shot" MP3 players holding audio books). And it's offering William Boyd - "Restless", so not something I'd buy having read it years ago - and Henning Mankell.
Mercifully, the television is not on but there is a man with a mobile phone conversing with an American accent at a volume that almost makes the phone redundant, even if his interlocutor is on the other side of the Atlantic.
The result is that air travel is deprived of the romance that surrounded it when I was much younger. No doubt it's also something to do with me, but it does strike me as regrettable that the travelling experience has become so mundane. It's not a place of comings and goings: the Motors wouldn't sing about it now in the same vein - "it took my baby to another place ...": now, she's probably just in the Timberland shop or buying a computer game.

Travelling

The longest journey begins with a rush to get everything done before leaving. Today this included downloading a programme for Hilary to watch on BBC iPlayer before heading for Seattle and the INTA annual meeting.

The taxi driver turned out to be a goldsmith, a skill for which I happen to have a need. I could sit in silence in the back of taxis, and when I was younger I certainly would have done. Now I try my few words of Polish or find someone to repair my cufflinks.

At Reading station, a sign outside the toilets caught my eye. "These toilets are maintained by male/female attendants". That must make recruitment difficult, I thought. Is it a genuine occupational qualification? I was minded to photograph the sign, but decided that cameras and public conveniences probably don't go well together.

Boarding the Railair coach for Heathrow, the ticket inspector requested that I take my (cappuccino) cup with me when I leave at the other end. He was perfectly polite, and even called me "sir", but I was offended - indeed, had to ask him to repeat himself as I had failed to comprehend him at first. My reply - "of course" - was laced with just a little indignation.

In the pocket in front of the seat beside me I found a Red Bull can and a crisp packet. I might remove them too when I go. And, to be fair to the ticket inspector, they were probably abandoned by an outwardly respectable business traveller, probably similar in appearance to me.

10 May 2009

Wait until tomorrow



A final long run before the Capital City Marathon next Sunday: I tried to keep the pce conservative, but as usual it didn't work for me and I ended up covering nearly 17 milesat almost exactly nine minutes a mile.  I'll have to wind that back a click or two next weekend, although I won't be on the sort of surfaces - rutted trails, grass, hard uneven earth - that I ran on today.  On the other hand, I will still be jet-lagged and probably not as well nourished as I might be.  And it will be very early in the morning.  I suppose I will just have to see how it feels on the day.

It was a perfect May morning, sunny enough to require sunglasses most of the time.  At  ten miles I paused to drink the sports drink I had carried with me, and to ingest (neither "eat" nor "drink" seems right) an energy gel, and that turned out to be perfectly timed, judging by how I felt when I reached home.  No trouble with knees (or any other joints, or part of my body), just a hugely enjoyable and flowing two-and-a-half hour run.  Birds sang, the countryside was fresh green, and the miles just rushed past.

It doesn't come better than that - but to get home in time to watch Jenson Button win his fourth race of the season was a bonus, followed by putting the finshing touches to the new pumpkin patch (having installed anti-rabbit fencing yesterday) and mowing part of the field and then the garden.  I think I deserve a bit of quality time at the computer now ...

John Mayer Trio - Wait Until Tomorrow "Live"