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VCM 2014

Back from injury

In September 2012 I completed my first half marathon, the Bupa Great North Run in Newcastle, UK. It was my first ever event, so when things went well and I clocked a time of just over 2 hours, I was both delighted and yet left feeling a little frustrated. It was a faster time than I’d expected, by a full ten minutes, but I knew that if I’d started further up the field, rather than from the very back, I could have broken the 2hr barrier. Read more

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Tales of a virgin half-marathoner

I’ve run on and off ever since those bleak cross-country days at school, when they sent you out in all weathers in a vest and shorts, and you came back spattered head to toe in mud, drenched to the skin or with thighs the colour of beetroot from the bitter cold. Read more


Recipe: Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce

Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce*

This basic tomato sauce is easy to prepare and goes great with pasta, gnocchi or in Melanzane Parmigiana. The zucchini noodles are a healthier, grain-free alternative to standard pasta. Read more


Bupa Great North Run 2014: Why run for Soi Dog?

“Saving the life of one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that animal” (author unknown)

I’ve always loved animals and, because I grew up with dogs in the house, I’ve naturally always been more of a dog person. Then my wife persuaded me we should get a cat. We came back from the refuge with two, a mother and baby, both jet black, and our passion for animals has only continued to grow – as has our family of pets. Read more


James Gray enters Bupa Great North Run 2014 to raise funds for Soi Dog UK

This September, Vienna-based translator and writer James Gray will be taking part in the Bupa Great North Run 2014, the world’s biggest half-marathon, to raise funds for Soi Dog UK.

The inaugural Great North Run was held in 1981, when less than 5,000 runners were expected to take part. Organisers were astounded when over 12,500 applied and over 10,000 of them completed the very first race. The Bupa Great North Run is now the blue ribbon event in the Great Run series, starting in Newcastle on Tyne and ending 13.1 miles later in South Shields. A record 56,000 entrants were accepted from over 122,000 applicants in 2013.

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Italian Language and Culture Centre SEMA

Cos’č l’Italia per voi?

Ah, Italy! What images does Italy conjure up for you? Fashion? Ferrari? Cappuccino? Gelato? Art and opera? Italy has long held a fascination for both me and my wife, especially since a good friend of ours introduced us to the Liguria several years ago.

This year, though, we decided to combine our vacation with a language course. My wife is already proficient in Italian, but for me it was a long overdue exercise. I love Italy, but with every holiday it becomes more and more frustrating not to be able to communicate in Italian and to have to stand there like an ignorant Englishman while my wife does all the talking. And what makes it all the more difficult is that the Liguria is really a region where it’s almost impossible to get by with English; the majority of tourists who visit the area are Italian.
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Waldviertler Roggenhof distillery and Whisky

Water of Life springs from Austrian Waldviertel

By James Gray

“Scotland Forever!” proclaims the St. Andrew Association diploma which hangs, almost strategically, you might think, above the master distiller’s left shoulder. He grins, recalling the sound of bagpipes which filled the distillery’s Celtic Fire and Water Garden during a Midsummer wedding ceremony last year.

And yet these are not the Highlands of Scotland. No less mythical and once populated by ancient Celtic tribes, this is the Austrian Waldviertel and home to the Waldviertler Roggenhof distillery and Whisky Experience World, which last year attracted 75,000 visitors – more than Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland. Read more


James Gray | Translator and Writer


trans·la·tion | noun |trans?le??(?)n, tr??ns-, -nz-|

The process of translating words or text from one language into another


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