Sunday, 27 July 2014

Another DNF

Reports like this can always be a venting for despair, feelings of failure and the "Why oh whys?" 

Today I have no excuses apart from that I had a terrible event and I knew it from the beginning as  I traipsed out in 30 C degree heat on a 100km self-navigating trail run at noon having previously had a bout of stomach cramps.

Let me take you back 3 hours into the morning of Saturday; after dropping my daughter off at her workplace I ventured home, grabbed my backpack and dry kit to take a 45 minute drive to Tonbridge Wells but as the journey started I began to realise that the traffic was heavier than normal for a Saturday and then reports of 2 accidents on the motorway so I diverted off to go an alternative "country lane" drive to then get stuck in more traffic about 3 miles from the start. By now the temperature was in the high 20's and I was sweating profusely and slowly getting more and more fed up as I had now missed my 11.00am start time with a window of 60 minutes to get going.

Hot and flustered I finally found the start, signed my waiver and ran out. Due to my mood and now very hot body I decided that before I started that I would drop down to the lesser distance (now 42km) and just enjoy the day with little or no pressure. Along with my normal safety kit I added an extra 750ml of water and because of my decision to drop down the miles my MONKEY FEET.

The ground beneath me was great, the instructions intricate and therefore not really designed for runners and I have learnt the hard way never to follow the well trodden paths as a lot of people go wrong and you too get lost proved when a runner passed me 3 times in the first few miles and he started earlier than me!

Crossing open fields I was really suffering in the heat and was just generally unhappy as I was just not dealing with the weather at all so arriving at the first checkpoint announced that I was quitting knowing that I would become ill if I continued.

This later proved to be the right decisions with reports of people dropping down a distance, other runners DNF'ing after nearly blacking out...I believe thas was not a challenge for runners that day as their body temperatures would have become dangerously high. Fair play to anyone that got through this event with such minimal support...just not for me, no excuses.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Wealden Waters pre-Race

As usual before a race or event there is a flurry of activity, my kit laid out on the floor in the dining room the mandatory kit piled ready for packing. It is not for me to challenge event rules but this year we are required to take full body waterproofs and a fleece but with weather at its height of 31 C with no threat of rain I am really thinking of ditching the trousers, not that they weigh much but just are bulky in the backpack but I suppose rules are rules.

I maybe having one of my "mad moments" but I am seriously thinking of taking this event on in my Monkey Feet with my trusty Injinji socks as protection from dirt and blisters but 100km on trail could be a little risky but it would be a brilliant achievement

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Wealden Waters 2014

This one has come up a little quicker than I would have wanted but it will be a challenge of my resolve and a desperate need to accomplish something again this year.

The Wealden Waters is a Long Distance Walker's Association (LDWA) challenge in which runners are invited to join in but starting after the walkers, the challenge is thus:

OBJECT: To complete a distance of either 100 or 40km on foot, within a time limit of 26 or 10 hours respectively, in the High Weald area of Kent and Sussex, using only a route description and OS maps. 

 I will of course be taking on the 100km challenge (actually 100.8 km!)

I received a message from my newly found trail buddy Alzbeta whom I met on the Pony Express ultra in May 2014 who lives in Kent and from the sound of it a very experienced long distance eventer and one tough cookie. In the message she announced the route description for The Wealden Waters were up and I was excited to see the following famous Kent and Sussex footpaths:
  • High Weald Landscape Trail
  • Sussex Border Path
  • Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk
  • Vanguard Way
  • Wealdway
Each of these trails, paths or walks are monsters with many downland "undulations" add to this stiles, kissing gates, bridleways and the Ashdown Forest and we have an absolute monster of an event to test ourselves.

I am actually beginning to look forward to this as there is a minimum kit list which requires a full backpack which I always enjoy.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Running distances put into perspective

I was described today as "Obsessed" by my good running friend Bhundu when we were discussing some of my sometimes perceived weird ideas and adventures. This was all taken in good heart as it was given, this while I mentioned that I had missed the all important "Running around half the Earth's equator since I started". 

His family laughed wholeheartedly when I mentioned that on Friday evening, whilst I was nursing a cold glass of cider, that I had calculated the number of times I had run around the Equator of all the planets in the Solar System in an Excel workbook and included data bars to visually show the different sizes of the planets justly proving how intricate I can be.

I was really pleased to note that I have in fact run around Mercury and was well onto reaching 1.5 equators very soon, next target is the Red Planet, Mars and now just over half way for Venus and Earth. As for the Gas Giants, I have no hope on Earth (see what I did there) to get around them.....but just a bit of fun that I am about to do my second circumnavigation of the Moon having run 1.90 times around it.

Those figures just how small we really are.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Ninja Monkey

Mad, hectic day on Thursday with an early start to the office armed only my trusty OMM backpack containing my laptop and a stuff sack containing a a running shirt, shorts with my Monkey Feet strapped to the outside.

A full on day at work, a visit to the hospital to visit my father and then a ssllloooowwwww train journey to my home station leaving me just 13 minutes to get to the track which would have been a 30 minute walk but at 27C I decided to take a rare ride in a taxi to the track. 

at the track I quickly changed and had planned to plod out about 4-5 miles at a gentle pace that I normally do on track nights, such that a few of the other runners see me as a "slow" runner and often comment on it.

Tonight the speedsters were going to do 8 x 200 metres but I was asked to "make the numbers up" to make 5 teams of 3 which I didn't really want to do and have a feeling that as I had plodded out a slow 8 minute mile was chosen as the  "Slow" guy in a team of three that had a Fast, medium and slow pace runner in each. 

I was the third runner in my relay team and when the baton was passed to me I zoomed off after the guy in front of me, one of the faster guys, and overtook him at pace and beating him by about 10 metres....his language quite ripe when he told me he was shocked at my turn of speed. This was mentioned a few times but my answer was "Yes, I can run fast, I just choose not to"

Nice feeling sometimes to turn someones perceptions on their head

Monday, 30 June 2014

Manic Monkey

For the first time in a very, very long time my underlying mood has lifted beyond all recognition, I am mischievous, joking and laughing naturally at jokes, life and feeling generally well.The pessimist in me knows that it can not last long but the optimist asking me to enjoy it while I can and for as long as I can.

Today I had a load of marking to do with a deadline something that normally bothers me but I was fine, it had to be done. I also had planned a run in Shoreham, Kent to confirm a 10km route I had devised for a race in September and in the mood I was it was unbearable so halfway through my work I ducked out of the door with my Monkey Feet in my hand, some shorts and a t-shirt, even my Garmin GPS was having an airing to do some measuring and I was off with full permission of the Delightful Mrs S who was pleased to see me leave.

Arriving at Shoreham I leapt into the woods and bounced along the trails looking out for the local wildlife as is a regular sight to see Roe deer bouncing around the trees but my primary task was to visualise kilometre markers, marshalling points and taping requirements. I was in a world of races and running. I do love this mood, just going for it, leaping mud puddles, cavorting down grassed hills to a woodland trail, hauling my fat arse up a particularly difficult hill, viewing a hillside over the valley bedecked in poppies, cows staring suspiciously as I passed.

Today I loved my running, today I ran about a mile totally barefoot on pavement, today I dodged raindrops and managed to obtain version 1 of a 10km race.  

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Drunken Monkey

The annual ritual of the Summer Solstice is celebrated by both of my running clubs, one with a 13 mile (21km) run on the North Downs, the other a gentle 5 mile run with two beer stops and a garden party. Due to domestic pressures I had to choose the latter as time was tight such that I could not get to the start on time to meet my old training partners George and Michael for a much missed catch up.

So ducking out of the door at 7.32pm I ran out to the club via the local woods with Rob who I had collected on the way. At the club we were split into various groups and sent on our way; tonight it was humid and the sweat soon ran off me but in the distance my first can of John Smith's awaited me, soon to be consumed amongst the 150 strong pack equally sharing a can or partaking in a soft drink. The whistle blown we regrouped to our respective packs and ran off with the promise of more about 2 miles up the road. I laugh now as I did then but I was asked to run the pack through the woods to the next beer stop but I know for sure I lost quite a few as I darted off to the next can of bitter which was taken at speed due to time constraints.

By now, the lack of food and two cans of bitter were working their wonders as I finished the delightfully chatty run at Mike's house for the annual awards ceremony where red and white wine, Pimms and the remainders of the beer flowed such that by 10.30pm I was feeling pretty well mullered for a Tuesday evening.

What to do whilst drunk

Do as I do and run 3 miles home cross least this year I took the easy route and didn't get lost in the woods! Running with quite a few drinks in the belly is best described as "Interesting" but the run in my Monkey Feet felt comfortable and found my mind drifting matters internal.

Matters aside, I was really interested to hear a view point from another runner tonight about me which was " I never see you without a head torch wrapped around your hand Jerry" It is pretty much true, I do.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

1000 Monkey Miles

Slowly but surely the miles have been ticking up and up to finally hit the 1,000 mile mark.

Yes, tonight I celebrated the first 1,000 miles in my Monkey Feet and since I started using them haven't looked back. My running style has changed for the better, my feet wider, stronger, tougher and my calves like carved mahogany.

I have had my fair share of injuries with them ranging from bruised toes, knocked ankles and sore soles. Whilst I have had a few bumps and bruises so have my Monkey Feet with repairs to the toes and a small spilt in the uppers but compared to their more mainstream cushioned cousins have lasted twice the distance with half the wear and tear so in all, very impressive.

These shoes will have to have a few repairs to the toes in the coming days but let's see how many miles we can get out of my old friends.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Monkey Whisperer

As a lot of my Dear Readers will know my wife, the Delightful Mrs S, is not the greatest lover of my running expeditions. She is often heard moaning at me for mentioning my escapades, the stories of some of my fellow long distance runners or the fact my latest niggle is giving me some jip. This, I am afraid, is what goes with the territory of my beloved sport and one has to tread carefully both on the trail and around the Delightful Mrs S.

Let us look at the few days following the GUCR 2014, my feet still sore with a couple of blood blisters on the soles, 3 blackened nails and a small split in the sole, they were not pretty. Add to this a swollen knee and general lethargy that I come to expect but can deal with. Mrs S, whilst kind, took no real notice and let me get on with it, crutches and all, secretly I am grateful of this.

The telephone call

On Saturday the telephone rang and I picked it up
"Oh hi Jerry, Clare here, how are you?" [Clare is Mrs S's best friend]
"OK thanks, I am....." I was interrupted politely
"How are your feet, I was told you had really painful soles after you big race and your knee was swollen...."
"They are fine..." I was interrupted again.
"I was told you were on crutches, why do you do this to yourself?"
I got a word in edge ways.
"Mrs S must have been speaking to you about me, tell me more"
"Well she did mention something about your nails..."
 "Did she?"
A third voice entered the conversation coming from the sofa
"What else did she say....?"
"She said that you hurt your........."
Handing over the phone to the Delightfully Exasperated Mrs S she strode off saying in a rather theatrical whisper "What did you say I said?........" 

It did make me smile to think that after all these years of stonewalling my running she secretly chats about it to her friend.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Beware of Poo-Flinging Monkeys

Training is back on the cards with 3 runs in the last 7 days to primarily see whether my legs and feet were recovered enough to carry on with a few long runs. The runs have not been long ones but Sunday just gone was a lovely one.


Meeting Duncan at about 8.30 am the two of us high-tailed it to Shoreham, Kent for a woodland trail run in our Monkey Feet. On the slopes of the valley this area is very tough, whilst not too technical, it does have it challenges from heavily rutted paths, muddy sections and chalky ascents that have your lungs burning. The temperature was about 21 C, which for few of my Equatorial readers is cold but us Brits like the Devil's Kitchen warming up to make scrambled eggs.

This run was about route planning for a future 10km race which I have been given the mysterious job title of "Course Consultant" and Duncan as a sub-contractor for his insight and amazing "second eyes".

So Sunday was 2 pairs of Monkey Feet, 1 pack of yapping terriers, 1 jumping stag, 2 beautiful views , 1 lovely lady rider and a bundle of laughs.


This was Club Night and still being careful I jumped in with  an easier group with the promise of a trail run in the woods and local nature reserve, a set piece route but nonetheless a  welcome one.

In my Monkey Feet I was finding certain sections quite hard as the Council has this habit of filling woodland trail holes with sub-base 1 which fine for the road is tough in minimalist shoes when not compressed. So with a few grumbles I padded over some sections and took on the hills knowing the fitness wouldn't return if I shied away.

The last mile arrived and we came to the lower section of the woods which as always remained waterlogged and muddy. The newer runners erring to the dry, rooted path, I to the centre of the track with mud flying left, right and centre... I loved it.

At Home

I was banished to the bathroom, it appears that the last trail was not only mud:

Some Monkey had been flinging Poo

I stank

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

...or why I hate running technology.

Don't get me wrong Dear Reader, I am a lover of technology, the freedom it provides and the perceived improvements to our lives but I only believe it has a place when it doesn't cause more problems than it was supposed to prevent in the first place.

Take my recent attempt on the Grand Union Canal Race, Gemma, Sam and I agreed that we should use the "Find a Friend" app on the ubiquitous iPhone everyone seems to have these days that would allow them to track me on my journey and at first worked brilliantly as they popped up at agreed locations at the right time with time to spare. The only problem is battery life and I seemed to be chewing through it such that we agreed to switch them off and then on again at agreed times to get a signal. It seemed to work, even if the support team had to run out to late night shopping emporiums to purchase chargers!

Tonight I was scanning through my iPhone when I noticed a VERY long video which was 12 minutes long! I have reduced this to just 48 seconds and loaded it to youTube to show its exciting content.... the rear view of my run, viewed through the netted containment of my race vest. This video no doubt chewing up my battery life but at the same time showing my ever consistent pace during the first 10 hours


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Battered and Bruised I Return

Battered and bruised I return empty handed from the GUCR but with no remorse. This year's race was a tough one with it raining continually for about 20 hours and the conditions under foot not ideal.

My main Race Report will come over the next few days whilst I catch up on a few things in my work and private life but just to report that I dis make it to just past the 100 mile mark when I realised that my feet were just not going to get me there.

I sit here now with a swollen knee, a few blackened toenails and 3 large blisters, one of which is blooded but spiritually absolutely fine actually smiling at what I accomplished.

Full report soon, I promise.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The GUCR preparation continues

My last run for the GUCR was a very gently paced run at a secret location in Kent. I had said I wouldn't wear my Monkey Feet again until after next weekend but the weather was perfect and the ground dry.

Back at home the running kit has had to be moved to another location whilst we have family over but I will be back on it on Wednesday and Thursday. The Crew in the form of Gemma and Sam have been in contact with loads of questions and I have been given the responsibility of compiling some notes about kit requirements, food, drink, pacing, goals and much more. Sent so far tonight
  1. 5 x maps of course
  2. 3 x official race Notes to Crew
  3. 1 x personal notes to crew
  4. 1 x Spreadsheet containing details of all checkpoints and subsidiary points
I am sure more questions will arise but:
  1. The train is booked
  2. The hotel booked (be it another person's name)
  3. Notes of meeting of crew, where and when
  4. Shopping list made
  5. Crew t-shirts ordered and awaiting pick up in Birmingham
All that is needed now is a fantastic weekend which I know it will be but as my cat, Coach Maisy says (That is her in the picture above):

"A good athlete should always keep an eye on the weather forecast especially when approaching the BIG race but remember there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Sorites Paradox

...and just like sorites paradox my GUCR pile of running kit and associated items of importance stack up. It started with a few carb gels, then a Buff, a pair of socks....
....then it seemed to grow such that one day it was a heap, one that is still growing by the day but this time The Delightful Mrs S has finally decided the 1700 year old thought experiment.*....
"It is a heap when I say so..."

* Sorites Paradox

Sorites paradoxes are a class of paradoxical arguments also known as little-by-little arguments. The name "sorites" derives from the Greek word soros, meaning "pile" or "heap." Sorites paradoxes are exemplified by the problem that a single grain of wheat does not comprise a heap, nor do two grains of wheat, three grains of wheat, etc. However, at some point, the collection of grains becomes large enough to be called a heap, but there is apparently no definite point where this occurs.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Monkey tattoos

The world of barefoot running never ceases to amaze me with different things that happen whilst running, yes there are injuries and I have seen quite a few of those this year, also improvements in my running strength....but not tattoos!

I was out doing a very gentle 10 mile run today, my last in Monkey Feet until after the GUCR in two weeks having a lovely time having planned it around the weekend's squalls thinking which kit I was taking to return home very comfortable. Taking my shoes off there was the usual detritus one finds on ones feet after a trail run but today it was completely different for the soles were as black as night.

No amount of scrubbing and scraping can get it all off so now I have a beautiful set of grimy feet that will imagine stay like that for another few days.

Today's run was pretty clean overall and can only assume I picked something up during my night run last Friday running through a farm yard...who knows?

Pins and needles

Feeling pretty pleased with myself at the moment finding the transitional recovery for my 32/7 back to back has been extremely successful with a nice gentle 5 mile run on Tuesday then a 5 mile night run on Friday.

The level of recovery shows that the fitness is there and now it just means tapering gently for the next two weeks.

Right, that is the good news the more worrying problem I had was on Sunday and Monday post Pony Express. Whilst relaxing in front of the television on the Sunday evening barefoot I felt a strange sensation in my right foot starting in the heel and then working its way around the edges of feet to the ball. At first I thought it was sharp grit or bits of glass in the carpet and having hoovered the area found it appear again in both feet...nasty pins and needles. Visions that the tough terrain of the New Forest had played havoc on my feet or they were not washed properly such was the unusual sensation I scrubbed them in the bath which actually improved them...but it was still there be it in a lesser amount.

By Tuesday it was gone and on hindsight looking at my feet they were ever so slightly puffy. So was the inflammation the cause, I think so...Is it something to worry about, I think not. I think the variable terrain, the high mileage (in the heat)  had irritated by feet a little and they were just telling me to watch it.

It is good to listen to the body once in a while.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Pony Express - Not a Race Report

Rising from my bed after the previous evening's Night Run I stepped with my right foot with trepidation noticing that my [bad] toe was still sore from the slight trip the evening before.

So with the Delightful Mrs S in the car I zoomed down to Southampton with no difficulty and was unceremoniously dumped at Southampton Central station by my family who were off on a mega-shopping trip and I on the train to Brockenhurst.

Arriving at the Brockenhurst College I saw the final race briefing from the XNRG Race Director, Neil Thubron, as I ducked into the hall to put the final bits of my kit on. Today I was running light with a litre of fluid, a long and short sleeved top, shorts, trail shoes and light weight gaiters. I also carried a rubble sack which was invaluable as I was running across dense heathland and any other bag would have ripped to pieces on the thorns and gorse.

 After my briefing I was let loose at about 11.30 am some 30 minutes behind the elites and 2.5 hours behind the walkers. I was provided with an Ordnance Survey map of the route in a plastic folder and with it I took my trusty bag and a pair of scissors. This was my challenge, navigate the unknown course unguided, collected rubbish and look after any back markers... I just LOVED the feeling of individualism that this type of job does, the self-reliance and secretly FUN.

I had heard that there were wild horses in the New Forest and I imagined they were scarce and hiding but was soon amazed when I saw hundreds throughout he day quite happily crossing roads, munching the grassland. Then there were deer, cuckoos, cows and bird life, my jaw dropped for part of the race as I realised that I was in an outstanding area of natural beauty. For the first 10 miles there were plenty of people to greet along well trodden (and ridden) trails but after navigating a heath and collecting some water from Check Point 1 I was all alone, not a person in sight, I assume that they tended to stay near the towns and villages and didn't venture onto the wilder trails. I was in my element, jumping gulleys to gather the signs and tape, my legs ripping against gorse and holly trees my Dirty Girl gaitors protecting my ankles amazingly well.

From Checkpoint 2

This checkpoint is 16 miles from the start if it were a straight line but due to the nature of the course it is in fact just 2 miles by road! I was told that I would start to catch people up at this point so it was just a matter of plodding out my miles at a nice "GUCR pace" which I did with the intermittent breaks of clipping down the odd sign or tape. The route then tapped into a series of disused railway lines, perfect for GUCR and so I ducked into training mode and use the long stretches where there were no turns to dig in, my legs were tired remembering I had run 7 miles the night before, then the turn off at mile 19 caused an issue for there in front of my arrow marker and me was this:

Yep, a Highland cow, probably the most docile wild creature I have ever met. He looked at me whilst chewing cud, a look of bemusement on its face as I chatted to him telling him he was in the bloody way...he cutting down my sign I then found him blocking my path down to the road, so a slap on the rear moved him on so I could move on back into the woods and then onto a long hard slog along another disused railway line.

It was only time.

There ahead of me in the distance I saw the tell tale sign of the back marker, the limp, the walk of purpose. It is not easy trying to be invisible on a trail that has only two people on it and it was only until we came to a switch back that my cover was broken and the runner stopped and invited me to join her. This was an amazing lady that was no stranger to long distances, this was a lady who had already run30 miles the weekend before and had discovered an injury.

We slugged it out over the next 8 miles, conversation was sporadic and fleeting but she remained focussed and in good humour as I ducked in and out of the course to grab my tapes. 

Then the route became, drier, harder to touch and houses became apparent, children playing in the fields, we were nearing a village, the school, the driveway, the finish as my back marker walked strongly to her finish line..... a lovely thing to see. She didn't care coming in last, it was her birthday and this was her party.

Big thanks to the gang at XNRG for allowing me to be part of it....great race.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Friday Night Run - Monkeys and Deer

It transpires a few of my running club mates are training for a 24 hour relay race and have some amazing plans put together as their approach. This weekend a few of them were trying to simulate the conditions of the race by do 4 x 5 mile runs including a night run, this is where I step in.

So at 7.57 pm I swept in to the car park and was met by Tricia, Samantha and Vince waiting patiently for me and then commented on the fact that I had possibly gone over her run brief when I told them it was 6.6 miles but I hoped the extra mile would show them some nicer views of the area.

It was until 10 minutes beforehand that I chose to change to my Monkey Feet and stepping onto the road towards the open trail I was happy I had made the choice as the ground was firm but sufficiently damp to give it some give. The evening was still light but it was good to get the others used to the idea of going from night to day with us chatting about race plans, calling out hazards.

Laughs were soon joined with curses and screams when my planned route met a disused railway line which was mainly quagmire for the first 100 yards and then the serious part that I had laid out in my plan to jump and duck the very root ridden path and soon had us calling hazards out...perfect.

Later on as the night took hold we were running through a copse when there was sudden movement up ahead from left to right and then a rush from the right when two roe deer ran to haven...a wonderful sight. In fact the whole run was nice with nocturnes awakening and their opposite running to ground.

Only bad bit was whilst running through a rape field and my (bad) little toe getting hooked in a rape stem and yanking it, the next sentence I shouted was just a string of swear words from A to Z. Worrying times as I was supposed to be running 50 km the next day.

Run over, BIG grins on the faces of Vince, Sam and Tricia I believe they had a great time, next time we will need to do it totally in the dark.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Dirty Girls

After what is best described as one of my most rubbish runs in a few months today I stumbled off to my house after waving goodbye to Duncan, the only saving grace of the whole fiasco, who had patiently listened to me huffing and puffing around the local woods.

One moment stands out in my head of the run was when the two of us took a side path and skipped up it expecting to come out in a certain part but then found we were in a different part and going the opposite way than we expected and literally HURLED ourselves down the hill, skipping over roots, bouncing off sides of the grooved path, bounding over and cresting the surging path....exhilarating.

We departed at Hangman's Corner, the best place for rubbish runs.

This evening was part two of my shoe maintenance and this time it was to fix my Dirty Girl gaiters to my Kanadias in preparation for my sweeping duties at the Pony Express next week and the GUCR next month...I think they look AWESOME 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Monkey Toes and Monkey Fingers.

My Monkey Feet were due their overdue inspection the other night and I discovered that the middle toe of the right foot had developed an alarmingly large hole, well it was about 3 mm across, caused by the protective sole of the ring toe rubbing the fabric.

Tonight I was at a loose end having decided not to run as I am mentally exhausted at the moment (Black Dog?) such that I had a two hour deep sleep on the sofa awakening refreshed and jaded so I decided repair my Monkey Feet using some tape (to hold the ring toe back), some supaglue and a match as an applicator.

Whilst in the front room alone I went about the repair job with speed and dexterity, or so I thought, when I stepped back from my handy work to discover my thumb was well and truly stuck to my Monkey Foot's middle toe!

The thumb has now been extracted from its problem but now my Monkey Feet are ready for their next milestone.