This post is revisited from my old blog Lock Stock & Barrel. I am migrating (one blog post at a time) over to WordPress because apparently it’s pretty cool…and I agree!


From Wix dated 18th march 2012:-


Dear all,

I’ve been doing a bit of reviewing and blog research and I’ve discovered that my favourite type of blog is one that ticks the ‘not too long’ box, the ‘witty’ box and sometimes even the ‘informative’ box. I’m not too fussy about the informative bit because, although I am always happy to come away thinking ‘Wow I didn’t know that!’ I wouldn’t be too disappointed if I hadn’t. Taking a critical look at my own work I have decided that my blogs are way too long and, from now on, they shall be short and sweet…I can do short and sweet, you’ll see.

The main thing I wanted to achieve with my blog was to make people smile. So when something happens in my life that amuses me I lock it in the memory bank for a comical post. Today I am lucky for I have just the thing.

“What is it? What is it?” I hear you cry.

“Stop shouting out it’s rude!” I reply. Ha ha just kidding, you can shout all you like…heck I do!

So you may already know, if you follow me on Twitter, that my husband is running a marathon for the charity REACHOUT PLUS (also on Twitter & always happy to receive new followers). He’s been practising his socks off, starting small with a couple of laps of the block. Now he’s looking at a 17 mile stint at the weekend. Phew makes me tired just thinking about it! Well the other day he hurt his foot running & decided that his trainers were letting him down (workman, tools, I know what you’re thinking 🙂 ) so we went to Milton Keynes where they have a shop dedicated to running! Yes, I know! I never knew there was such a thing but apparently it’s really popular!

As we entered the first thing I noticed was the sea of colourful lycra, the second was the price of the trainers (£100 + would you believe) and the third thing (and I’m not quite sure why this was the last thing I noticed, given that it was the most shocking) people were actually running around the shop with their new trainers on and their trouser legs rolled up! I stopped and looked at my husband with a smirk on my face.

“Please tell me you are not going to do that!”

“No!” he exclaimed. “I just want a pair of reasonably priced trainers and then we can get to Costa for a coffee.”

Sensible I thought so I proceeded to let him guide me to the counter, stopping en-route to point out the price of some of the footwear.

“I mean, really, do they need to be this expensive?” I asked.

“They provide cushion, support, stability and balance,” he informed me, reading it right off the label.

“Right, yeah, stability and balance,” I agreed…under my breath. “So what did we do before stability and balance then?”

He responded by leading me to the counter in silence where we were confronted with…wait for it…a waiting list! We put his name down and then browsed. He showed me the high energy sweets, that looked like something out of Jack and the Beanstalk, and he explained that they were pure sugar. The kids immediately started asking if they could have a pack each.

“NO!” we both shouted in horror. Imagine that!

“But isn’t it kind of…cheating?” I dared to ask Mr S-C. He looked around the shop like I was nuts before whispering.

“Jess, these people are really into this stuff so don’t go offending them because, one, it’s rude and…and…two, they will catch!” Oh how we laughed. A day out with us is an absolute scream let me tell you!

When it eventually got to our turn, the shoes came off, the socks came off, the trouser legs got rolled up, the trainers got tried on…then the cheaper trainers got tried on…and then there was the dilemma. Do we go for the cheapest or the next price up? There’s £30 riding (or should I say ‘running’) in the balance. The cheaper is the less garish of the two, being plain white, while the other is gold and green! The white ones look thinner and hence might accommodate his feet less sympathetically and this leads to only one other crucial point…yes, you’re getting there…he did what he promised me he wouldn’t do. The only reason I was still standing by his side in this unfamiliar place was because he promised me he wouldn’t do it, yet, before I could reach out and stop him he was off! RUNING ROUND THE SHOP!

Humiliation finally over, but only because I walked out on him and took the kids to Costa by myself, he finally settled for the more expensive pair, but the purchase was a difficult one. We don’t tend to go in for flash, expensive, material type stuff. We often buy second hand and our cars are very old (like 15 previous owners type old). The fixtures, fittings and contents of our house are not necessarily bottom of the range but they aren’t flashy or expensive and we only have them if they’ve earned their place.

We discussed on the way home how much of this stuff is really necessary and how much is just catering for a public that will part with cash for the next best thing, the more superior, the one that offers the highest performance? Does having high performance trainers make you a better runner than the person with low performance trainers and, if there is a difference, can that really be attributed to the person in them or just the equipment they are able to afford? I ran for my senior school from the age of eleven in the district and county cross country championships and I often came first. However, we were poor and I had the most awful trainers you could imagine. Mine were torn, the sole was coming away and I didn’t even bother to do them up most of the time, just slipped my feet in and away I went. What I did have was the determination to complete the course because I’d been asked to do so by my teachers, who I knew expected big things from me on the running pitch (if nowhere else). I also had the stamina to keep on going even when I could feel blisters on my feet and my lungs were ready to explode. It also got me out of the more academic subjects and I would have done just about anything to avoid those!

I know many people out there are into their running and I still like to run too, though not competitively. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, which is why I then moved my attention closer to home. I’m not afraid to look at myself and ask the same questions. I have written numerous novels, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, romance, children’s, young adult and crossover and I am currently working on new material, but I can’t write in pen. My tool of choice, when it comes to writing, is my beloved laptop. One of my writing friends has to write on paper first and then she transfers it all to screen but I’ve tried this and it doesn’t work for me. It’s time consuming. Also I like to develop my stories as I write and if a new idea comes to me I like to be able to scroll back a few chapters and slot it in. This cannot be done so easily when you write by hand, without having to start again of course.

It is quite shocking to think that once upon a time people were only able to write by hand and they wrote great huge novels, fantastically punctuated and grammatically sound all without the benefit of the laptop. Later came the type writer. Hundreds of pages of material were typed again and again without spell check and format options, that can alter a whole document in seconds. So am I less of a writer for needing such tools in order to perform and would I have ever written one book let alone twenty something without my trusty electrical friend? I’d like to think I would, but the weaknesses I am able to cover up with technology would be seriously exposed. I doubt very much whether my work would have been as successful as it has been so far without my trusty laptop. My handwriting is terrible for a start, as an embarrassing incident over the word ‘flick’ knives once illustrated!

Is all of this modern day technology about offering you an alternative way of doing the things that you could do without, while providing a little more comfort? Running and writing without fab trainers or clever laptops shows endurance, dedication and a willingness to put up with pain and sometimes injury for the sake of our goals. Does it make you any less of a runner or writer? Well, no, not really. You still run and write and you still do it well but it certainly makes you a different sort of a runner and writer. It makes you a modern one. I do take my hat off to those that were able to achieve what we as athletes or writers achieve today but without the mod cons. Technology has created the opportunity for more people to take part both casually and competitively in the things that they want to do and that’s fantastic news as far as I’m concerned. Personally I’d be lost (and most probably unpublished)  without my laptop!

Oh pants this was meant to be short and sweet…Ohhhhh…I’ll start short blogs next week!

Cheers guys. With love from me. Jess x 🙂