Aliveandrunning2013 August 31

Wonderful weather and a glorious setting for parkrun at Wimpole Estate. It must be one of the loveliest courses in the country. Sweeping, undulating parkland and lakeside running, twice passing Wimpole Hall, the largest house in Cambridgeshire and built around 1640. Two hundred and eight runners took part in the 5K race and I think most of the participants enjoyed it with the exception of a sensible minority who were appropriately alarmed, if not terror-struck by the cows. Of which there were many! Lorna was marshalling at the first gate and adjacent cattle grid and I accompanied her to unlock the gate and set up the guiding bollards. Unfortunately there was a large herd of cows on the other side, including some large specimens with extremely twisty and pointy horns, staring at us with dumb, imploring eyes. Or it could have been smouldering anger and hatred. There were roughly forty of them and they were all massed behind the gate two hundred plus runners expected to pass through without being gored or crushed to death. Lorna blanched and gave me a beseeching, pleading glance. No words were spoken but I knew that a selfless, altruistic action was required. I quietly conversed with the chief cow and simply explained the reasons why he/she/it and they should move away and inhabit another part of the 3000 acre estate they were so lucky to graze. Despite employing some Tony Blair  platitudes and stumbling sincerity, they continued to stare insolently at me. I was due to run, not marshall, so I did the next best thing. I ran back to race control HQ and arranged for two large men, well versed in cow control, to take over at the gate and it was agreed that Lorna would scan the bar codes of the finished runners. When I ran through the gate, well protected by runners on each side, the cows were lined up on the side of the path looking rather defeated. I nodded to the chief cow, conveying my respect but he/she/it merely turned its head in disgust. No-one came to grief but it does pay to be cautious.The rest of the run was devoid of fear, risk danger or anxiety. Lorna enjoyed a non threatening experience scanning bar codes and still managed to complain she had to stand in the shade so the scanner could read the codes. Better than getting splatted by a longhorn though! I didn’t get a personal best. I think I’m still recovering from the 13 miles I ran 3 days ago but  I wasn’t far off. I’ll probably go for another long run tomorrow.

A brief update on the Krispy Kreme outrage at my local Tesco. The KK cabinet is adjacent to the magazine shelves which I am genetically programmed to visit immediately on entry to the store. I couldn’t help but notice a queue had formed in front of the cabinet. Shocked, I nevertheless wanted to observe the interaction of people and Krispy Kremes. But how to blend in unobtrusively? I quickly stepped over to the magazine shelves and made a selection. I returned to my prime observation spot and pretended to browse through WHICH CEMETERY? For People Who Want To Get It Dead Right. When I say a queue had formed, I mean there was one man behind another person who was choosing doughnuts. I was flummoxed because neither man was overweight. They both bought several lurid and shiny sugar fat rings and furtively headed towards the checkout. No further suckers took there place. I quickly identified an excellent graveyard in Swindon, made a mental note and returned the mag to the shelf. There were no further incidents of note whilst I remained in store.

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