Tuesday, 26 April 2016

life without porpoise

So, after a day of racing more than 30 miles, then drinking a bit more booze than usual (strictly medicinal) Mary and I woke up unaccountably tired and cranky. As we drove to Gullane quite a few folk were driving in a sub-standard way and I could hardly hear Classic FM over Mary shouting corrections and encouragements at them. 

No Raisin Brioche at Falko's! Had the Fat Bikers eaten them all? And the Cheese Tongues? Had to settle for pretzels, which were pretty good. Running was tough though. The first few yards were awful. The first mile was harsh but after a couple of miles the aches and stiffness eased off and by the beach there was even a burst of speed. I suspect the soft ground yesterday saved the legs - a road marathon does way more damage.

Ran back down the same paths as yesterday, although it seemed a long time ago. Came across this box and expected to find a geo-cache inside. Instead there was a small collection of debris that looked like the contents of a charity shop duffle coat pocket: buttons, pens and a 1967 2-bob-bit. I photographed the florin because you don't see them much these days. Then returned it to the box. I did google it later to see if it had any value. (If it had been worth millions there would have been a hasty return.) There were similar on ebay for 77p ~ £2.20 each. I also checked out what value 2 shillings had back then in terms of today's money. The RPI (I'm guessing relative price increase, nope Retail Price Index) is, funnily enough 70p ~ £2.20. Which is to say you could buy a carton of milk or a loaf of bread in 1967 for 2 shillings and now that would cost about 70p+. So the 2 bob bit is holding it's value. But not worth a trip back in the night with a torch.

bridges over the horizon

Mary employing primitive but effective communications.

"and now I'm a train"

tracks from the fat bikes
lively wee video from Bruce here

hazy sky and a long trail of cartoon clouds
perfect hangover weather

CSI Aberlady

After a bit of googling this would appear to be a Harbour Porpoise. This is approaching full adult size - they are one of the smallest marine mammals. It's a while since I touched a cetacean and it's skin was a perfectly smooth marble, with no fingerprint like texture, or scales. Like a very smooth rubber. Made for going through water quickly. Fascinating. Mary sent an email to the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme and got the reply...

"The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) is the dedicated research and reporting scheme for all dead stranded marine mammals, sea turtles, and basking sharks in Scotland, so this information indeed gets collected and your report is very valuable to us! We record all strandings (from fresh animals to skeletons), collect samples, and perform necropsies on a number of cases to establish the cause of death as well.

The porpoise you found was later reported to us by the Aberlady Bay warden, who has moved the animal to the road. Unfortunately there was a little bit too much scavenger damage for us to come collect it for a full necropsy (even more than when you found the carcase), nevertheless one of our trained volunteers will be collecting some samples from the animal instead today.

Thanks very much again for your report, and if you come across any dead stranded marine mammal, sea turtle, or basking shark in the future please do let us know again!!"

I have no idea what caused the gaping injury but it could be unrelated to the reason for death. There is an article about Harbour Porpoises being killed by dolphins and the corpses seem to have almost identical wounds. I have a suspicion that it might be the result of scavenging after death, but don't know for sure. 

lots of abandoned urchins

shiver me timbers

I found an iPad on the shore. Totally stoked. I took it with me. Whenever Mary said something I didn't agree with I said hang on I'll just google that, oh can't get a connection.
Not funny then and not funny now says Mary.

Well we felt quite a bit better afterwards than before so I suppose that was a result. There were many splendid results appearing over the weekend. Lots of Scottish successes at the London Marathon and some amazing times. But perhaps the most outstanding running recently was Jasmin Paris running the Bob Graham Round in the 5th fastest time ever. Taking 2 hrs off the women's record for 15.24 (67 miles and 42 peaks.) A record that will surely stand for a long time. Interesting account here. And considering the deterioration of the weather since the weekend (hail and cold) we were very lucky to enjoy fab weather for the ultra and Forth Fat etc. Nice to be indoors for a couple of days.

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