They look and sound great but where are the recipes?
I recently discovered that my great-grandfather, Frank Plumbley, was born in Newport on the Isle of Wight in 1874. He joined the army at the age of eighteen and was stationed at both Aldershot, Hampshire and Maryhill Barracks, Glasgow. During his time in Glasgow, he met Jeannie Harrison and they married in 1896. They had two children, Alfred James, born in Farnham, Surrey in 1897 and Jeanie, my grandmother, born at 6 Harrington Street, Maryhill, in 1900.
Frank and his new family were then transferred to Barrackpore, West Bengal, India where, in 1906, he sadly died My great grandmother later married Alexander Shaw Walker from Auchinleck, Ayrshire and became Mrs. Walker, my grandmother was six years old at the time and was then brought up as Jeanie Walker.
The Plumbley connection was almost lost to history, until I started doing my family research and also had my DNA tested. The results revealed that 20% of my DNA was from the Isle of Wight. The remainder being: 60% Irish, 12% Viking and only 6% Scottish.
I took a trip to the Island to see what if I could discover any more information on my Plumbley forefathers and to get a feel for what life was like for my ancestors.
The research was a bit more difficult than I had imagined but it appears that Frank was born in Newport in 1874 to Emma Plumbley and brought up by his widowed grandmother Edith Plumbley in Freshwater. Frank worked as an Agricultural Labourer and then, at the age of 18, he joined the 28th Battalion and was initially stationed in Aldershot.
Although there were numerous Plumbleys living across the island throughout the nineteenth century, they appear to have almost died out now. Hopefully I’ll discover more about Frank’s family in the future but for now, I loved my time getting to know the island which was home to my ancestors.
The people are really friendly, the old thatched cottages are extremely well preserved and the island is a paradise for dog walking and running along the numerous paths and beaches. Jack and I had a great time and, of course, we took in the local parkrun too.
Medina, Isle of Wight, parkrun
It was just as well that I contacted the organisers to confirm the location of the only parkrun on the island, as they advised me that the event was not taking place at the usual place at the Medina Leisure Centre in Newport, or at the alternate course in Ryde, instead it was being held at the Newclose County Cricket Ground near Blackwater, which was only a fifteen minute drive from my holiday cottage in Shanklin.
It was a cold and frosty as we made our way to the event. There was no description of this course on the parkrun website but, presuming that it would be at least partly on the slippery grass, I donned my off road trainers and joined the masses for the pre-run announcements and the 9:00am start.
To ease congestion at the start, volunteers stood at their allocated places holding up signs indicating various race times. I made my way to the 21-minute area and it wasn’t long until Jack and I were making our way along the course with 254 others.
I had no idea what the route was going to be but it started easy enough running around the cricket ground before ascending onto a gravel path. Some of the pebbles must have been sharp and Jack soon opted to run on the adjoining softer grass. We ran around the cricket ground in the opposite direction before crossing the Sandown to Newport Cycle Path and into a large hilly field. At the top of the hill, the marshal held up a sign congratulating us for making it to the highest point on the course and stating that the rest of the route would be downhill.
We completed one lap of the field and then ran along a narrow dirt track towards the local herd of lamas. At this point, I could see the leaders running back towards me as I negotiated myself and Jack passed a couple of runners. It was then back to the cricket ground and the gravel path before finishing on the grass at the same point which we had started.
I was quite happy to see that I had finished in 29th place with a time of 22:04 on what could be best described as a testing, undulating course over mixed terrain. It was good chatting with some of the other runners after the run but again, I couldn’t stay for coffee and conversation as I had a ferry to catch back to the mainland. The published results informed me that I had placed 1st MV55, which was a nice bonus, as was a mention in the official report. Many thanks to all the volunteers and my fellow runners for making myself and Jack feel so welcome.
Best Ever Handicap
It was even better to learn that UK Athletics had graded the event with an SSS of 4.0 and my vSSS as 0.3, which means that my handicap dropped to an all-time low of 7.5. (for an explanation on this see here) Suffice to say that I’m one happy chappy.
Full Results here
parkrun photographs by Peter Billington
Visit the Island of Wight
I hope to visit the beautiful island again at some point . I’d highly recommend that you do too.
You can see more of my photographs of the island here
I decided to have a wee trip to the Isle of Wight and couldn’t resist the temptation of chalking up my first parkrun south of the Tweed. Jo Jeffries, who ran for Bellahouston Road Runners at the same time as me, strongly recommended that I participate in her local one in Winchester. Although the original plan was to run it with Jo, injury and having to help out at the regional XC championships put paid to that. She did however cycle along to give me a hug before the start and cheered me and Jack around our first lap of the three lap course. It was great to see her looking so well despite her injury getting her down. Most runners can empathise with that.
I had lined up at the start of the assembled 269 participant and was welcomed to the event by the run director. There were a few ‘woos’ as he reported that I had travelled from Glasgow and then we were sent on our way.
The course is flat and fast and is run on a mix of grass and tarmac paths.
We started at the green pin, headed east alongside the treeline, crossed the path and then followed the perimeter of the northerly field in a clockwise direction. When we reached the path again, we turned left, across the bridge and then another left turn left and we followed the perimeter of the large easterly field in a clockwise direction. At the southern end of the field we turned left and followed the path. We turned right, back across the river, and then another right turn and we headed north,back to the field adjacent to the tennis courts. A left turn and we followed the edge of the field back towards the start area and the end of the first lap of three.
With all the twists and turns, both right and left, and usually with those ahead of us in sight, it was hardly surprising that Jack wanted to take a more direct route than the one set out and I lost a good bit of tie ensuring that he kept to the course.
As well as Jo’s support, one of the marshal’s was cheering me on by shouting ‘Go Glasgow’ every time Jack and I passed by.
We could see another dog in front of us but we failed to catch Lisa Froment and her pooch and they crossed the line, in 19th place, with a time of 20:26, one minute faster than her previous PB.
We were happy enough to cross the line in 27th place, with a time of 21:02. Of course a sub 21 would have been better.
Full results here
I chatted with a couple of other runners, including Rob Fox and Julia Henderson before rewarding Jack with his usual goodies and water. As usual Jack was very popular with everyone we met and it was great that so many people made us both feel so welcome.
Alas I couldn’t stay for coffee and conversation, as I had to travel further south as there was a Red Funnel Ferry from Southampton to the Isle of Wight to catch. Although I only drove through So’ton to the docks, I saw a number of places that brought back happy memories of my time there in 1975, when I was a young lad of eighteen.
A last minute decision to give the expected crowds at Pollok Park, for the 400th edition of my local parkrun, saw me heading back to Linwood for the second time in five weeks. I had managed a PB of 20:08 on my last outing there, and with my improved form, I had set myself a target of achieving that elusive sub-20 minute parkrun.
I had raced below the 20 minute barrier twice before, once, a while back, at a club time trial and more recently last year at the Great Run Local Glasgow Quays. I was well aware though that neither of these performances were recognised by UK Athletics, but parkruns are.
I was expecting the numbers to be a bit lower at Linwood parkrun #14 than the 119 which had participated in event #9, as Strathclyde parkrun had been cancelled that day and quite a few of them, including a healthy turnout from Motherwell AC, had helped to swell the ranks. I didn’t need to worry though as word of the Linwood event is spreading and some 103 took part in Saturday’s event, including some 25 first timers.
I seemed to know around half of the runners and volunteers too and had a wee chat with some of them before the 9:30 start, including Kerry Lang, the ex professional triathlete, Scottish Duathlon Champion and British Triathlon Vice Champion and Scottish Road Race (Bike) Champion who said that I should beat her today. No pressure there then. To be fair, Kerry Filliol, to use her married name, is just coming back from having her second child..
Harnessed up to my faithful hound (Jack), I lined up at the very front of the masses and Norman Groves set us on our way around the two lap course. I was a wee bit concerned to find myself leading the pack for a while but thankfully it wasn’t too long before Dumbarton AAC’s Alan Heron and Greenock Glenpark’s Sean Marshall overtook me. Whilst the both of them had disappeared into the distance before I reached the 1k point, they had been replaced by Bellahouston Harrier, Andrew Heathwood and David McNulty.
Although the two of them also opened up a gap on me I managed to catch David in the next kilometre and kept Andrew in sight for the rest of the race. I try not to look at my Garmin during short races and so it was today. I knew that I was working damn hard didn’t think knowing my pace would help, that said, I did hope the he was checking to make sure that he was on pace for a sub-twenty.
I couldn’t hear anyone behind me and I was beginning to hurt but I knew that all I had to do was follow Andrew in front. My mind was playing games and I was wondering how far there was to go to the end, was it 1k or 2k, when much to my relieve i saw the 600m pole, which is about 800m from the Finish line.
I knew that every second was vital and I gave it my all and then with 300m to go, at the lap 2 turn off point, someone’s dog strayed onto the path. I didn’t have time to adjust my stride and I tripped over the little canine but somehow I managed to stay on my feet. My pace increased from around 4min/k to just under 3min/k as I overtook Jack in the final strait and crossed the line to the cheers of the volunteers. I stopped my Garmin but my heart was pumping away ten to the dozen and my legs gave way as I collapsed onto the grass.I took a moment to calm my heart beat and to recover my breath, as Norman kindly collected my finish token. I then looked at my Garmin ….. 19:55! You beauty! I had done it! I knew that it wouldn’t be easy and I was right but it was worth it. I’m now officially a sub 20 athlete. It’s taken a long, long time but I’ve now achieved my target.
It was with a broad smile that I showed my barcode to one of the volunteers before catching up with the other runners and cheering the slower ones over the line. Just for good measure I was the first in my age group and also achieved the highest Age Graded Result with a WAVA of 79.83%.
Unusual for me but I did have a cake with my coffee at the On-X Cafe as I joined with others for post run chat and to lend a hand in sorting out the finish tokens.
Many thanks to everyone involved at Linwood parkrun #14 for helping to make my day so special. Thanks also to Linwood parkrun Facebook page for the use of their photos.
Dumbarton’s Alan Heron continued his great form, which saw him clock 2:47 at last week’s Chester Marathon, to earn gold, with a time of 17:17, more than one minute ahead of Sean Marshall (18:30). Andrew Heathwood placed third with 19:45 and I was fourth with 19:55.
In the women’s event.it was Elizabeth Kerr to the fore, The Aberdeen Metro athlete placing first with a time of 20:20. Kerry Filliol (nee Lang) secured second with 20:34 and Garscube Harrier, Linda Kennedy earned bronze with her time of 22:52
Age Graded Results
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Ian GOUDIE (VM55-59) was graded 79.83% for the time 19:55 (4th overall).
Alistair KERR (VM70-74) was graded 78.57% for the time 23:01 (22nd overall).
Alan HERON (VM35-39) was graded 75.51% for the time 17:17 (first overall).
Clippens and Me
Whilst most Linwood parkrunners may notice the name of Clippens being used for a local roundabout or even the local inn, it means a lot more to me. Merry & Cunninghame (iron and coal masters with substantial mineral interests throughout the West of Scotland), established coal and ironstone workings at Clippens during the late 1850’s. Worker’s housing was built by the company at Clippens Square, known locally as Balaclava following the victory in the Crimean war. It was there at 21 Clippens Square that my Great Grand Mother Robina McMath was born on the 24th May 1862 to Andrew and Robina McMath (nee Speirs). Andrew, my Great Great Grand Father was recorded as being a ploughman at the time.
Robina had a difficult time of it but eventually moved to Ayr and married a bricklayer by the name of John Park. They had a daughter Robina Park in 1902, my Grand Mother. She married James Connell Goudie in Ayr in 1921 and had three boys. Robin McMath Goudie, Samuel Park Goudie and James Goudie. I was born to Sam and Mary McDade in Ayr in 1957. Clippens will always be a part of who I am.
I’m heading down to the Isle of Wight soon to do some more running and family research, this time on my mother’s side. Wish me luck.
A cold and misty morning welcomed me on the first Saturday in October as I made my way to race the Pollok parkrun for the 145th time. The old body was sluggish as I pushed it through my usual warm up routine before joining the assembled masses at the start of the 399th staging of the free, weekly 5k.
With the staging of the Great Scottish Race (GSR) on Sunday and its associated family events on Saturday, the numbers were down from almost 500, on my last visit, to a shade over 300 today. It was’t just quantity that was down though, it was quality as well, with a number of the faster runners prioritising the GSR 10k or Half Marathon above the parkrun.
My lack of distance training meant that I didn’t have to consider the options, as 5k was the longest I’d raced in twelve months. Last year’s GSR Half Marathon being my last long run.
With the diminished field, I started closer to the front than normal and despite being harnessed to Jack, we still managed to avoid much of the usual early congestion. The first kilometre took us 3:59. Whilst this is the type of pace which I should be running at, the self doubt quickly reared its ugly head as i knew that those around me were all faster than me. All of them were looking comfortable at this pace and some took the time to say ‘hello’ to me and the dog wonder. I, on the other hand, was already gasping for air and unable to respond with little more than a grunt.
I didn’t have too long to put up with this pressure though, as two hundred metres later, Jack steered off the road and into the trees for an unexpected pit stop. I bagged his poo before rejoining the race. We had lost 29 seconds and loads of places but that didn’t bother me too much. I was now on terra firma and with renewed vigor I started chasing after those in front of me. I now had less than 4k to race and the monkey was off my back.
I had looked at my last Pollok parkrun statistics and noticed that, although I thought that I did well in the third kilometre, my pace actually dropped significantly. This is the narrow, squiggly, uphill section which can be muddy and congested. I usually overtake a few people here but now realise that it’s because they slow down more than I do. This week I worked much harder than usual and my pace only slipped slightly. The fourth kilometre is a long slight gradient up towards the duck pond. I was focused on a runner in a light coloured vest in the distance and continued to work up the field towards him. I had a little panic when I noticed that I was catching a running buddy that I’ve only ever beaten once before, but I kept my focus on the light vest and overtook my buddy. I sped downhill and turned left into the squiggly difficult section. There was now only 1k to go and the last 200 metres is downhill. I gave it my all it wasn’t long until I was sprinting down the final strait and across the finish line. My token informed me that I had placed a very respectable 33rd, and my Garmin informed me that I had completed the 5k in 20:52, with a moving time of 20:23! My PB at Pollok is 20:50 which I set in 2010, so to come within two seconds of that, after stopping for 29 seconds blew that performance out of the water. Although the official result will show 20:52, it will also show my age grading of 76.20%, the best I’ve ever achieved at Pollok
There’s life in the old dog yet.
As usual many thanks to all the volunteers and other runners for making this such a special event.