Running in Romford, Rowing and Referendum. We are sent reeling in Brexit Land

Raphael parkrun June 18 2016

A bit of parkrun tourism last Saturday. We went to Raphael parkrun in  Romford, just beyond the outer reaches of East London. We met up with our friends who live relatively locally and are involved in the organisation of parkrun. And a lovely run it was, too, around a local authority maintained park within easy walking distance of Romford market, where we had breakfast in a Wetherspoon’s pub. We like Wetherspoons. They’ve got nearly a 1000 pubs in the UK and most are reconverted from old cinemas, banks and other old pubs.

I think Romford is typical Brexit territory and sure enough, we saw a Leave the EU car and van cavalcade wending its way through the streets. They want their country back. They want to drastically curb immigration. They want to be in control of sovereinty and decide our own laws. They frighten me. Please let us Remain!


Cambridge Bumps time a couple of weeks ago. The Bumps comprise of college rowing teams competing on the river Cam. On the last day, a Saturday, they set off together, spaced at intervals of possibly 100 metres and attempt to catch the boat in front by “bumping” into them ie having physical contact. The race for both boats ends at this point. There are a number of races during the day and alternate female and male races. It’s great fun, quite exciting at times, a spectacle to behold, very British and not social class neutral.





I ran a 10k Hoohaah at Hatfield Forest, Essex on Sunday. I didn’t go all out but I still put some effort into it. Very enjoyable and had coffee with good friends after the race.



Aliveandrunning June 15 2014 Juneathon Day 15


  May Bumps, always held in June, on the River Cam, Cambridge. Teams of eight, plus a cox, row to catch the crew in front and “bump” them. The two boats then retire to the side as others race past them, intent on bumping the boat in front of them.






It was good, upper middle class, English fun. Everyone who participated or spectated were hard working tax payers (or will be) and everyone believed in solid British values. No-one was selling Socialist Worker. No drones buzzed overhead and blew anyone to smithereens.

To satisfy Juneathon’s  exacting requirements, I ran just 2 miles today. I see from my running record that last June I was up to a minute faster than this year for the same distance. No matter, it’s the run that counts, not the time.

The BBC should know better than to allow that sanctimonious and unctuous Tony Blair airtime to pontificate on the current crisis in Iraq. He showed utter determination to go to war with Bush and not allow any argument or opposing views or facts to impede him. His body language at the time illustrated his desire to ingratiate himself with the Bush team. Bush came across as a no nonsense, macho avenger. Blair revealed himself to be poodle and faithful lapdog. Both men are professed Christians, of course. As if!








Aliveandrunning June 14 2014 Juneathon Day 14

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Ms Alive and Running (right) with her Fen Edge Runners Club pals (and mine) at Wimpole Estate parkrun today. Fen Edge Runners take their running seriously but are very friendly and informal. They allow me into their inner circle despite my belonging to a rival club.

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Ms Alive and Running showing good form as she approaches the finish line and Wimpole Hall in all its understated modesty (is this tautology?)

The undulating course and a particularly vicious hill meant that I run it almost 2 minutes slower than the flat and winding Cambridge parkrun. We had rain on the way to Wimpole which was dry on arrival but started after the finish so I didn’t get any photos of their second hand, pre-owned, formerly cherished but now callously discarded book shop. I did venture in, however. After establishing they couldn’t provide a second hand e-book download of my chosen titles, I was forced  to buy the hard copies.


I resisted explaining that I’m buying these books for a friend and not for myself. The George Orwell essays include the Art of Donald McGill, the saucy seaside postcard artist in which he explores the prevailing humour and assumptions underpinning it. This Penguin copy is old and looks like someone has urinated on it ( one of worst book crimes imaginable, second only to setting it alight). It possesses that lovely old paperback aroma (not faintly like urine) which e-books strangely lack.

In the afternoon, I went to the May Bumps which are a series of rowing races along the Cam. Very enjoyable and interesting. Took loads of pics. Very white, very upper middle class, very traditional. They set up road blocks along the tow path and you were only allowed admission to that section of the path if you could converse in Latin or Ancient Greek, attended a Cambridge college or had an air of smug insouciance. Am I being unfair? Yes!

Aliveandrunning June 8 2014 Juneathon Day 8


Meet my two long legged friends, Ethel and Reginald. As befits literate spiders, they can’t wait to scamper over the book shelves. They have oodles of fun, they tell me. They are voracious readers but tend to confine  themselves to the text on the book spines because, obviously, they can’t turn the pages. Additionally, the font size is large  and it takes time to scan, so progress is slow. They are terrible copycats! Every Saturday at 9 am, they have bookrun while I’m at parkrun so I never get to see them in any great number. So far, no pics on Facebook. I still live in hope. I like spiders running over my books.



Rather warm today. I intended to go for a short run (around 2 miles) because I’m still feeling tired. I ended up doing 1o k. I parked in the country park where we do parkrun, pootled around there for a bit then headed for the river. Plenty of people walking along the riverbank, some runners (avoiding eye contact with me), and cyclists, including trainers on bikes, coaching the rowing eights as they move at speed in the water.

In the above pic, an eight and a narrow boat pass in opposite directions. Next week the May Bumps begin and culminate on Saturday when the successful eights race against each other. The tow path will be full of people spectating and picnicking  on the banks and coaches will be whizzing along the path shouting out instructions to their own crews.

A number of eights wait in staggered positions and, at the firing of a small cannon, set off and attempt to catch up with the boat in front, “bumping them”, that is making contact with their boat or oar. Both eights then pull over. It’s not permitted  to sink another competitor or swipe at them with cutlasses. The crews are mainly Cambridge University colleges with a few affiliated clubs taking part (I think). What do class warriors think of this? Do they move seamlessly among the wicker hampers, jugs of Pyms and bottles of champers cluttering the banks, furiously stroking their chins in wonderment? Or shrug their shoulders? Or kick the picnics into the water? Or, like us, sit on the fence? We’ll enjoy the races but drink fair trade tea, brewed on a portable gas cooking stove, using water drawn straight from the river.

Anyway, no such dilemmas today. Just a lovely run along the river bank. I felt less tired following the run. Only my jaw muscle still ached, a consequence of excessive social intercourse yesterday at parkrun and elsewhere.