Why Father’s Races Should Be Banned


“Go on Dad, go on, pleeeeeeaase!”

“No, I’m in my work clothes and slip-on shoes, I can’t run dressed like this.”

“Go on Dad, all the other Dads are doing it.”

“Yeah Hattie’s Dad, go on, pleeeeeaaase.”

[Heavy sigh] “Ok…”

And this is how I was cajoled into the most recently embarrassing experience of my adult life.

Picture the Scene

Me, a 40 year old IT teacher dressed for work in flat soled slip-on shoes, work shirt, jumper and semi-smart trousers. Most of the other, younger and more out-doorsy looking, Dads were in jeans or shorts, t-shirts and trainers.

We took our places on the freshly rain-moistened school field, behind the chalk start line, for the Father’s Race at our children’s’ Sports Day.

My heart was now pounding in my chest, my breathing shortened and laboured, stomach muscles (and bowels) contracting uncontrollably, flashbacks to school sports day failures crowding my brain. All compounded by the funky looking, much younger Dad next to me doing jump squats and warming up like some sort of Daley Thompson at the Olympic Games.

The school PE teacher took his position at the side of the track and called us to order. The other Dads around me crouched low to the ground, ready to spring forward at the sound of the whistle.

It was too late to back out now, but I really should have, it would have been less emasculating for sure.

Ready, Set…

“Ok Dads, you start when I say ‘Go’ and blow the whistle,” said the PE Teacher. We all nodded silently, signalling our understanding but too focussed now to verbalise anything.

“Ready.” The Dads either side of me crouched even lower. I felt stupid and sickeningly apprehensive.

“Set.” Blood pounded in my ears, I was poised waiting for the shout of “Go“, followed by a blast of the whistle.

But the next thing I heard wasn’t “Go”. It was instead the sharp peeeep of the whistle. I was momentarily stunned. Where was “Go”?

“Hang on,” I thought, “the other Dad’s have started running. Come back, he didn’t say “Go”!”

In the split second it took me to process this information (and decide not to take the PE Teacher to task as it might have seemed a bit petty, maybe) I was almost last to leave the line.

[Note: now I think back on it, why would you say “Go” and then blow a whistle? That would be Ready, Set, Go, Go now – it doesn’t make sense does it? But as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing…]

Run Like the Wind?

So I ran, and was suddenly reminded why I don’t like running. When did it become so jarring, so teeth rattlingly painful, to run on grass? I felt my jowls wobble with every pounding thud of my inept feet.

All I could hear was thud, thud, thud and my breathing, already embarrassingly heavy. It sounds a bit silly to say this, but it was just like a scene from a film where all other sound is faded out, I had tunnel hearing and vision, focussed on the track ahead.

But, despite my shaky start, I was gaining on the middle order as we pegged it down to the pole that marked our halfway and turning point. As I rounded the pole I slipped ever so slightly on the wet grass but didn’t lose a lot of speed and I was probably just above halfway down the field. And then it happened…


As I increased my speed again, racing away from the halfway point, ready to dash full pelt back to the start/finish line, something strange happened.

All of a sudden it was like I was trying to run on an ice rink. My shoes had no traction at all and seemed instead to fly backwards and away from me. I toppled forwards, initially in what felt like super-slow motion, then fast and heavy.

Caught completely by surprise, I had no notion of trying to break my fall. It was exactly like someone had pushed over a back of rocks and I slammed into the ground, hard! My right elbow and left knee contacted first, taking the brunt of the impact.

I distinctly remember thinking as I started to fall (in the slow motion bit), “Oh no. I’m falling over. Why????”. My brain was already calculating the humiliation factor.

For a second, I was totally stunned.

Almost immediately though, I scrambled back to my feet and stumbled forward, determined to finish the race, even if I did amble home in last place. What else could I do? I had to finish the race didn’t I?

She’s so proud

Humiliated, defeated and bereft of any remaining testosterone, I scuffed my way back to where my Daughter, Wife and most of the kids from my Daughter’s year stood. I worked hard to ignore the stifled giggles from the Mums gathered on the sidelines as they turned their heads away, hands hiding their mouths, when I passed.

When I reached my wife and daughter there was silence for a moment, then my beautiful, wonderful, kind and loving daughter threw her arms around me, hugging me very tightly and asked, “Are you alright, Daddy?”. I hugged her back, bit my lip hard, and for a moment I couldn’t speak…

“Yes, I’m ok,” I said, as I looked down at my left leg and realised my trousers from the knee down were covered in wet mud and grass stains. I would have to go home and change before going in to work.

“Did you hurt yourself?”, my Daughter said with genuine concern.

“No, I’m ok,” I said, noticing the sharp pain from my left knee and inside my right elbow joint (which still hurts now, weeks later).

“She’s very proud of you!” my wife said, “she was really worried that you had hurt yourself.”

I could see the amused smile dancing around the edges of her mouth but she did a great job of holding it back (she has had a lot of time to perfect it, being married to me for nearly 16 years).

No-one Should Have to Suffer this Again

If you read this far, wow, and thank you!

For once, this experience has inclined me to agree with the over-zealous Health and Safety brigade in Brussels. Dad’s races should be banned, if only to save the fragile Egos from suffering a fatal blow.

Flying by Bike

Biggest lake bike jump ever – Worthless Films from Worthless Films on Vimeo.

Ah, kids these days. I loved watching this video, it made me wince but it looks like amazing fun. About as far as you can get on a BMX without E.T.!

Lovely Evening – Don’t Forget Your Keys

Friday and we’ve just been paid so that must mean dinner out and a walk around the Harbour, here in Sunny Weymouth.

Unfortunately, I left my keys in the restaurant and had to walk back to get them, but fortunately they were handed in.

Still, I had a chance to try out Hipstamatic a bit more and post this little Gallery to tell the story here on WordPress.

Client Relationships and the Multi-Device Web · An A List Apart Article

list apart screengrab

I’m doing a lot of reading about web design and development, for one reason or another.  One thing I haven’t done much of before is working with customers, or clients, whichever you call them.

I found this article inspirational and, sadly, I got quite excited when I read it because it describes an approach that sits well with me.  So I have saved this article for future reference and thought I would give it a shout out here too.

Client Relationships and the Multi-Device Web · An A List Apart Article.

Do you Touch it or Tap it?


Image courtesy of user: stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve spent most of today recording and annotating iPad instructional videos and it has been enjoyable for the most part (Windows encoding issues aside).

I ran into a slight semantic dilemma, however, when writing the captions.  Do I tell people to touch and hold an icon, or should they tap and hold?

We talk about ‘Touch’ interfaces all the time and Apple even named one of their devices iPod Touch of course.

Yet somehow, asking someone to ‘touch’ an icon or to ‘touch’ their iPad feels a little bit creepy, or if not creepy then certainly a little wrong.

Hit it!

‘Touch’ doesn’t seem to be a positive enough instruction either when you want someone to do something.

Tap‘ however? Now that sounds like a more affirmative action doesn’t it?

So, currently, I am leaning towards using ‘tap’ exclusively.

Real world problem

But that’s not all. There is also the physical home button on the iPad.  Now that really does need a positive action so is that a tap or a click?

You may think this is splitting hairs but once that video is encoded and on the website for everyone to see it is very difficult, and a lot of extra work, to go back and change it.

So what do you think? Do we ‘touch’ or do we ‘tap’? And are we ‘tapping’ or ‘clicking’ the Home button? If you have any thoughts either way I would like to hear them, just leave a comment below.



I am happy to report that Summer has actually arrived and England is currently in the grip of a Heatwave.  I know, rainy old England!  Day time temperatures are hitting 30 degrees C or more.

It has been a massive and very welcome boost to business in our town and made the 2 day Dorset Seafood Festival last weekend an outstanding success, with tens of thousands of people visiting. 

The beach is also jam-packed every day as evidenced in the snap above.

I mention this because:

1) we love to talk about the weather here in England, and

2) to remind me in the cold, dreary, miserable Winter months to come that this really did happen.

Le Tour de Store


This is what Apple have chosen to highlight as the best cycling apps to tie-in with the Tour de France (which I have been avidly watching highlights of every day). There are a lot more they could have chosen to include, strange they have only picked these few.

I wonder why?

Update 19/07/13 – It looks like Apple have added some more apps and some of the ones I would expect (hello Strava), so maybe they just took their time to update the list.  I’ll shut up now.

When is a blog not a blog?

“The word “blog” is slang for web log. It refers to a regularly maintained journal or diary posted on the Internet.”
Source: www.ehow.com/about_4597798_what-does-blog-stand.htm


The definition above means this probably doesn’t constitute a blog any more. I regret that. I also want to remedy that.

The problem is that I generally find it far easier, quicker and more gratifying to spew out my ramblings via Twitter (and much less occasionally Facebook).

And it feels like this is the way things are going for many others too.

But I am going to try and re-invigorate this blog.

The first step is this – going public with my intention (although there is probably no-one reading this anyway ;-)).

Watch this space…

Robot Quadrotors Perform the James Bond Theme

Yes, I should be doing something else (isn’t that when you usually browse YouTube?), but this is brilliant, in my geeky opinion, so I had to share.

This is part of a project at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, recently presented at the TED 2012 conference in California, here’s a quote from their site about this video:

“Kumar, along with GRASP Lab members Daniel Melligner and Alex Kushleyev, are helping scientists and engineers create smarter, faster, and more flexible robots by mimicking the swarming behaviors of birds, fish and insects. Figuring out how to move in unison without crashing into obstacles, or one another, is a critical skill for robot teams to develop, especially since they may one day be used to survey landscapes, build structures, or even play music.”

iPhoneography Accessories Roundup by Adorama

Here’s a nice roundup and demonstration of the current batch of iPhonegraphy accessories from AdoramaTV.

My favourite? The Owle Bubo, I’ve wanted to try one of these out since I first saw it a year or so ago. Love the idea of making a movie with one of these.