Running, punting, yakking, gasping, digging, reading, gardening and other -ings

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Ms Alive and Running and I ran Gorleston parkrun, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk recently. It was a fine, warm, sunny day and the course comprised of two simple laps of a lower and upper sea promenade with only one steep zig zag path connecting the two levels ie we only had to ascend it once because we started at the top and finished at the bottom.

 

 

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We stayed in this little hobbit house overlooking the sand dunes in Winterton -on-Sea. I went for a lovely run to an adjacent seaside town by way of the dunes. I struggle to make an appropriate comparison but suffice it to say that one was a WI stronghold and the other a magnet for fast food and candy floss lovers. The latter was undeniably colourful in every sense and I found my senses being overwhelmed. Winterton, I suspect, is a Tory and UKIP kind of place but I might have found evidence to the contrary when I fell into conversation with Peter Chapman who was painting images onto his camper van. It transpired he is the uncle of the Chapman Brothers, Jake and Dinos, nationally and internationally known visual artists with a controversial portfolio. He is also an artist and sculptor and gave me a tour of his studio and garden.This was very generous of him. I can confirm that he is not exactly a typical resident of Winterton.

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Thanks, Peter!

Back to Cambridge. I like to watch and take pics of the punts, particularly from Garret Hostel Bridge or King’s College Bridge. Today I went to Queens’ College and went onto the Mathematical Bridge.DSC_0973

 

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My Druid book finally arrived, by Amazon (non-drone) rather than Guardian bookshop who said it was out of print. Naughty Guardian bookshop! My spiritual and magical renaissance is still on hold because I’m reading Gut : the Inside Story of our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ. Very readable, very interesting, a complete education in intestinal health, ill health and poo related facts. Warning : sitting on a Western style toilet seat is not good for gut health. Squatting is much better.

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Lastly, I’ve been doing plenty of digging and planting donated plants. My therapeutic gardening project continues to progress at a glacial pace for various reasons but is set to take a leap forward when I cover the constructed skeleton of the polytunnel with its plastic cover in the next fortnight. I’ve visited another gardening project, Gardening with Grace, in Bedford and they’ve visited me. It’s been very helpful and given me a different perspective on how to go about what I want to achieve.

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A Rather Large Statue at Kings Cross St. Pancras Railway Station

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Kings Cross St. Pancras Station. The Meeting Place, a 9 metre statue by British sculptor Paul Day, situated under the clock, or two clocks actually.

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I was in London recently, travelling down from Cambridge, to attend an outpatient appointment at Moorfields eye hospital which I calculate to be around 3 miles from the station by foot. This was the fourth time I had walked to the hospital and the first time I got lost. I have a sixth sense when it comes to choosing a direction and almost always I choose the wrong one when I decide to “improve” the route.  I got even more lost when I walked back to Kings Cross. No matter. I find it very pleasurable walking in London. I crossed over the Grand Union canal a couple of times. I think all of it is walkable along its tow path right up to Birmingham, 137 miles away.

I’m having “issues” with myself concerning running with my club and I’m not running so regularly at present. A number of the slower, older runners of which I am one, now seem have to have dropped out and I’m road running with much faster, younger clubbers. I’m missing some training sessions but I’ll still hang on. I continue to do parkrun weekly and I’m only 12 away from the 250th which is pleasing. I did a 10k race at the beginning of the month and another 10k at the National Trust Wimpole Hall Estate last week. But part of me wants to run alone as I did for nearly 30 years before loads of races started appearing  and before parkrun came along. Am I reverting to type? No, not really but the reality is that I don’t have much in common with most runners I know apart from running. And I have a limited capacity to talk about running. Or any sport!

I’ve signed up for an introductory creative writing course, starting in September and 10 sessions in length. I’m looking forward to it. It should kick start my interest in writing again. Hopefully I’ll be motivated to look again at the 70,000 word children’s novel I wrote but never revised. I completed the bare bones of it following my heart attack nearly 6 years ago but it’s lain fallow for the last 5 years. I was told that children can smell the author’s own moralising a mile off when it’s superimposed on characters. But somebody has to tell the young what’s what! They gotta learn, aint they? All right!Guilty as charged.

Jeremy Corbyn, prospective Labour Party leader, in the upcoming leadership contest and now apparently a real contender. A relatively radical left winger and old style Labour activist. The moderates and moderate Right Labour MPs are now having kittens at his unexpected support, fearing they will be unelectable as a Party at the next election. A modern acronym sums this up : LOL! What the left needs to do is create a new and compelling response to the black propaganda spewing out from the evil, self serving Tory party for the last 5 years.

My bloody book on druidism still hasn’t arrived ! I ordered it from the Guardian Bookshop nearly 6 weeks ago. My spiritual enlightenment remains on hold.

 

 

SHOULD I KEEP RUNNING OR BECOME A DRUID ?

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With all the drama and heightened significence of a single droplet of water falling to the floor in a tropical rain forest in the rainy season, when the volume of rain has been extreme, even for a rain forest, I resurrect this blog !

Aaahhhh……. the pull of nature and mysticism. We went to Glastonbury recently to visit the town and climb the Tor (not to attend the Festival). We like Glastonbury. There’s a feeling that the 60’s never went away, a Center Parcs for old hippies, a place where you can easily buy a magic wand and no one bats an eye lid if you wander around in cloaks, habits or pointed hats.

But prior to entering the enchanted town, we  stayed at Montacute and ran the Yeovil Montacute parkrun in the grounds of the eponymous House which is owned by the National Trust. And a very nice late Tudor country pile it was,too.

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A lovely parkland course, the weather was clement and the run director and volunteers could not have been more friendlier or welcoming. We’ll definitely be returning (when the omens are auspicious and the sun moon and stars are correctly aligned).

Forget Dubai, New York or even East London, Glastonbury is the cool destination to hang out if you are an actual or even a  closet pagan. It’s so easy to buy a wand. I spent a lot of time looking in a wand cabinet, perhaps too long and Mrs Alive and Running bought me some patchouli oil.  We ate in the vegetarian Rainbow’s End cafe, natch, and generally tried not irritate the wizards and witches by treading on their robes.

And so to the Tor!

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Magical, mysterious, steeped in spiritual history, overlooking the Somerset Levels and the Isle of Avalon, the Tor is topped by the roofless St. Michael’s Tower. The hill is associated with King Arthur, paganism, goddess worship and having a mystical positioning. It’s a beautiful mound to climb and then sit around thinking about nature worship, astral planes and magic while bracing yourself against the wind. By a wonderful coincidence (or was it pre-ordained) we arrived at the top of the Tor as 60 or 70 druids were climbing up the other side to gather for an early summer solstice celebration.They belonged to the Order of Bards, Obvates and Druids and were chatty and friendly. They were quite happy for people to watch their ceremony, respectfully take photos and ask them about their beliefs. They were down to earth (no pun intended), articulate, intelligent and sensible. We liked them.

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Yesterday, it was very warm (although not as hot as London’s 34-36c today). Instead of running with the club in the evening, I went for a 9 mile morning run before the sun got too fierce and took a large bottle of isotonic drink in a holster belt. Sensible or what? It’s coming up to 6 years since I had my heart attack and I’ve run consistently and longer distances since then. I don’t know any other runners with coronary heart disease but it would be nice to know how they are faring and their experience of taking the obligatory medication. Are there any out there in the blogosphere?