Friday, 30 September 2011

Going the extra 13 miles

Just over three weeks ago, when the collective Great North Run fundraising efforts of Wee John and myself were not going as well as we had hoped, I entered the Bradford Half Marathon as a kind of insurance policy.  

At that time, our total stood at around £500; it has now reached £1,941 with one cheque and one sponsor sheet still to come in.  Put the two together, and we hope we'll get to our dream target of £2,000, but we don't yet know for sure. 

So, come 9am this Sunday, I'll be be back in my Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research running kit for a second and final time with the number 451 pinned to my chest.  

Before me will be 13.1 miles of steep Bradford hills and, in all truth, I am absolutely dreading it.     

A combination of tired legs, sore joints, a tender Achilles and christening exertions has meant that I've only been out for two brief training runs since returning from Tyneside.  But, hey ho, you only live once so I'll be giving it a go.  

A few people have increased their original donations to our fund after hearing I would be doubling my exertions. 

If you are a previous donor and would like to follow this generous lead, then please don't let me stop you.  

Equally, if you are one of the handful of people who said you would donate but haven't yet done so, I would be grateful if you were now as good as your word. 

Or, if you haven't yet given but suddenly feel inclined to do so then a few quid would be very much appreciated.  

For the very last time - and I absolutely promise it will be - here is the link where you can donate online.

By the way, if you happen near Bradford and want to come along to abuse me, then please do.

But whatever you shout, make sure it doesn't include the score of Ireland v Italy in the Rugby World Cup, which I'll be looking forward to watching shortly afterwards on Sky+ (with a very cold beer) .   

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wonky Wee John

Before I begin, let me introduce you to the young Whites on parade at Charlotte's christening last Sunday.

Alongside Charlotte and Jamie at the front is cousin Katie; behind are fellow cousins Nathan (left) and Sebastian.  I might add that only Nathan was drinking alcoholic beverages. 

At the same post-event do, I learnt something fascinating from Wee John's big brother-in-law Big Tony.  That's Big Tony below on the far left - two along from Big Sean.

Big Tony alleged that Wee John comes from a clan of wonky-eared folk - the Wee Fultons - with all his brothers and sisters having lopped-sided lugs appended to their tiny heads. 

Wee John was not around when Big Tony made this startling charge and Big Tony's wife / Wee John's sister Nice Paula (above right) politely refused to move her hair to enable me to test Big Tony's hypothesis. 

But thankfully it wasn't long before Wee John arrived back.  

And, do you know what?  In Wee John's case at least, Big Tony was right, as the line I've drawn on the picture below clearly demonstrates.

And for all these years I've wondered why Wee John's glasses were never straight.    

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Am I still feeling tired?

I am, totally destroyed in fact.  So here's another christening pic.

But please come back tomorrow when I plan to tell you about Wee John's genetically uneven ears.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Job done

We arrived back from wee Northern Ireland at the crack of dawn this morning accompanied by a newly christened Charlotte (and a grumpy Jamie).

On the plus side, I'm delighted to report that we had a wonderful few days crammed with memorable moments. 

On the down side, there are quite a few I'll never remember because I drank too much Guinness.

The result is that I'm now totally wrecked and need to be in bed. 

So we'll regroup tomorrow.

Until then, I hope you sleep well - because I will.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

We name thee Charlotte Frances

Tonight we Whites set sail for Norn Iron where, on Sunday, Charlotte will officially become an Ulster Protestant. (NB all other religions and countries are equally valid.  Apart from Scientology. And arguably Wales).  

Great North Run-related activities have meant that I, certainly, am not as well organised for what lies before us as I'd like to be.  But the Bishop is booked, so is the pub and I've even got a new suit. 

Let's hope yer man doesn't hit her too hard with the champagne bottle when her big moment arrives. 

She is only a baby, after all.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A touching (cloth) story

Jamie is going through a stage of taking immense pride in his poos and even comparing them with living things.

Recent exhibits have included a "snake," a "crocodile" and, after one particularly large Sunday dinner, a "Tyrannosaurus Rex."

But last night he outdid himself after producing two stand alone specimens, one significantly bigger than the other.

After the obligatory thorough wipe, Jamie jumped off the toilet and excitedly gazed down at his work.

"Look Mummy!" he shrilled. "It's me and you!"

It takes a brave male to tell a female she looks like sh*t.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Never in doubt

The sight you can see above did not fill me with confidence, if truth be told. 

It was Wee John's bag the night before our Great North Run adventure, and that really is 200 Marlboro Lights taking up most of the space.  

My optimism was even more diminished after I woke up at 5 o'clock the following morning and realised we'd drunk four pints of Guinness and a bottle of wine each as a means of tackling our pre-race nerves. 

And I'm not joking.  

But, you know, it's the result that counts, and we were both very pleased with that.  

I finished the 13.1 mile course in a time of 1 hour 51 minutes and 14 seconds with Wee John not far behind  in 2 hours 2 minutes and 10 seconds (his teeny, tiny legs having had to run many more steps than my longer equivalents). 

Most importantly, our running total (pardon the pun) has now worked its way up to £1,791 with more still promised. 

And if you haven't yet donated, you now have an added reason to do so.  Let me explain. 

Early last week, our total was standing at just over £500 and we were a bit down.  So I had an idea; we would keep the fundraising link open and also run the Bradford Half Marathon on 2 October!

I phoned John to share my Eureka moment, but wasn't able to get all my words out.  

Or to put it another way, John interjected with a short statement ending in "off."  But I entered anyway.

So, one more time, here is our link

Friday, 16 September 2011

We'll go on the G of the BANG

After all the kindness of so many people over recent days and weeks, it's almost the moment for Wee John and I to do our bit.  In little shorts.

His Weeness is due here tomorrow morning, just in time to see Ireland kick off against Australia in the Rugby World Cup. 

Then it'll be a (boring) pasta lunch and a bit of faffing before heading to our night time bolt hole in Durham, which just so happens to be a pub.  But we'll be good(ish). 

Then, after a bit of brekkie, it's up to Newcastle where the starting gun is due to be fired by world 5,000m world champion Mo Farah at exactly 10.40am. 

You'd expect me say that it's still not too late to sponsor us, and you'd be right - as it's not. 

So if you haven't already, we'd really appreciate it if you did so now by CLICKING ON THIS LINK

And please don't forget why we're doing all of this because, when the wind gets up and the rain starts to fall, I can assure you we won't.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

King Bong

The kind and remarkably generous gentleman you can see pictured above is an old mate of Wee John's and mine.  And his name is Bong Liao. 

We all went to school together and Coleraine Inst Old Boys will better remember him as Malcolm Yeow.

Him being a "Y" and me being a "W" (stop it!) we sat together in class for a number of years, right at the back.  (Wee John tended to be standing either in the corridor, or outside the headmaster's study).

Some months ago and thanks to Facebook, Bong  - now living back in his native Malaysia - got back in touch for the first time in more than 20 years.  He subsequently became an avid follower of this rubbish blog and, after I kept going on about it here (you may have noticed), he messaged me to offer a contribution towards our Great North Run fundraising effort.  However, for technical reasons, he asked if he could get the money to me by post.

A combination of my ineptitude and his persistence meant that the arrangement was only sorted out this afternoon.  But, my goodness, it was worth waiting for.

A few minutes before he got in touch, our running total stood at £980 and I put an appeal on Facebook asking for someone to stump up £20 to get us into four figures.  

"How does 500 quid sound to you?" said Bong in a message which suddenly flashed up on my screen.

When I eventually recovered my composure, I explained that it sounded wonderful, and it is now on its way. 

But it was a moment and a gesture I will never forget.

I left voicemails for Mags and Wee John straight away and all three of us remain stunned, and oh so grateful. 

What a top man.

As a result of the incredible selflessness of Bong and many, many others, our grand total now stands at £1,510 and we know there is still a fair bit of money to come in.  For example, a church in Keighley is doing a collection for us this Sunday.  And, seven days later, there will be another whip round at a very special event in Coleraine I will tell you about next week.

Can we make it to our original target of £2,000 after all?

Maybe, maybe not. But nothing would surprise me any more.

If you haven't yet donated and would like to do so, this link will guide you on your way.

I know I'm biased, but I think you should.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Almost there

This Great North Run caper has proven to be a lot more stressful and difficult than I envisaged. 

I have written many times about the reason why Wee John and I are doing it. 

In short, this time last year our friend Mags was diagnosed with leukaemia and the outlook was far from positive.

We weren't doctors and, despite offering to do so, strict rules stopped us from being tested as potential bone marrow donors. 

So we entered the ballot for the Great North Run, and got in.  

We informed Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research that we wanted to raise some money on behalf of Mags.  And we run on Sunday.  Along with 53,998 others. 

We're clearly not special but - thanks to our wonderful sponsors - we're doing just a tiny little bit for those who are. 

And, I have to say, sponsors have been hard to find.  Last week I told you that Tony Blair's ex-spinner Alastair Campbell had kindly agreed to Tweet our fundraising link to his more than 103,000 followers.

Do you know how many actually clicked on it and gave us cash?

None. Nada. Bugger all.  Not one. 

But despite this, as I write, we're only £60 short of our admittedly revised target of £1,000.  And, by Sunday if not long before, we will get there. 

For those who have given, we salute you.  You're great.

For those who haven't yet had the chance, now is your moment.  Please click here

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Three foot two, eyes are blue

Jamie has recently become very aware of his own appearance.

For example, we were at Harry Ramsden's not that long ago when he spotted a cartoon of "Deep Sea Harry" on his place mat.  Now, I've never heard of Deep Sea Harry before either, but I quickly noted that he had blonde hair and blue eyes - just like our son, in fact.

And, when I pointed this out, Jamie promptly demanded that I take a pic of them "together."

Then, last night, I was watching the teatime news which led with Bernard Hogan-Howe's appointment as Met Commissioner.  Flanking the new police chief outside Scotland Yard was Home Secretary Theresa May and London Mayor Boris Johnson.    

On entering the living room, Jamie ran to the TV, pointed at Boris and yelled: "Look Daddy!  It's a big me!"

Let's hope not, eh?

By the way, he's asked me to warn you that if you haven't yet sponsored his Uncle Wee John and me to crawl over the finish line in Sunday's Great North Run, he may come round and scare you.  

If I were you, I'd click on this link and do exactly what he says. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

We're a bunch

My running shirt for Sunday's Great North Run has arrived and, if I wasn't already aware of what a proper 'nana I'm going to look, I'm am now.

Wee John and I are running for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research or "The Banana Army" as its supporters are officially known.

Let's hope we don't slip up (ho ho).

PS Needless to say we'd be grateful for a small donation to our effort - please click here if that appeals to you.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

No pressure, but my son WILL be supporting Ireland

Jamie dragged me out of bed shortly before 5am today but, for once, I wasn't that annoyed.

That's what early morning World Cup rugby does for my positive outlook.

The highlight of the three games ahead of us was due to be the USA versus Ireland. 

But sadly Ireland, although they won, were pretty awful and Jamie made his feelings pretty clear. (At one point, I swear I could hear him humming Swing Low, Sweet Chariot from beneath his blanket.  Scandalous).

Hopefully I can persuade him to re-emerge in time for next Saturday morning when Ireland are due to get stuffed by the Aussies. 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sponsor us - or we'll send him round

The well-intentioned efforts of Wee John and me to raise a few quid to tackle the evil that is blood cancer are finally beginning to reap some rewards. 

Thanks to a growing number of especially kind individuals, we're now past the £500 mark and we know that there are several others preparing to go online and give us what they can.  We're obviously extremely grateful to everyone who does.

And we received a significant boost today when Tony Blair's former communications chief Alastair Campbell agreed to my request for him to share our fundraising link with his more than 103,000 followers on Twitter.

I've had dealings with him in various guises in the past, and found him very straightforward. 

I've also been long aware of his wholehearted commitment to our chosen charity, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Alastair’s best friend and colleague John Merritt died of leukaemia in 1992 and, six years later, John’s daughter Ellie also died of the disease, aged nine.

In 2003, while still working in Downing Street, Alastair took on the London Marathon. The story hit the headlines and he raised more than £370,000 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. He has since completed several marathons and triathlons, raising over £1million for the charity.

Wee John and I are indebted to him for endorsing our own efforts.

But, more importantly, so is our friend Mags, who I spoke to today and for whom we are putting ourselves through all of this. 

You can make your own donation to our fund by following this link.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Always keen to find a new way to get into ladies', my tiny pal Wee John has today outdone himself.

Because this morning he took up the post of European Financial Controller at Jimmy Choo Shoes.

I kid you not.  

Some dwarves have all the luck.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My family and other animals II

The White family visit to Chester Zoo was very successful, thanks for asking. 

Whilst there, Charlotte made friends with a meerkat.

Jamie made very clear that he had no wish to befriend the visiting Tyrannosaurus Rex.

And we saw another dinosaur with a smile any elderly person would surely be proud of.

Then we came home.

Friday, 2 September 2011

A date with the extended family

Vanessa and I were watching Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1 the other evening and decided it might be a nice idea to trace Jamie and Charlotte's ancestors.

So we're about to leave for Chester Zoo.

Before we go, I thought I might remind you that Wee John and my bigger self are due to take part in the Great North Run in just over two weeks and would really appreciate your support for what we believe is a very special cause. 

Clearly, we would say that even if it was a crap cause - but it's not. And the charity has not paid for our places or anything else, we have.

You can find out more and hopefully unload a few pennies by clicking on to this link.

Be warned that I will mention this again (and again) before Sunday 18th September.   

Thursday, 1 September 2011

My goodness, my Guinness

Jamie was introduced to Guinness in only his second week on Earth and, as you can see above, he seemed taken by its possibilities.

Being a lady, I didn't think Charlotte would be in such a rush to be made aware of its sheer wonderfulness.

But, with her christening on the Emerald Isle now just a few weeks away, I decided that the time had arrived.

She also appeared to be impressed, and I happily drunk to that.