Covid -Fools rush in where angels fear to tread (where you exert personal choice). Or are obliged to take risks and return to work with inadequate safeguards?

It’s a great advantage being very near to the Emmaus Cambridge community, a charity which accommodates homeless men and women and runs a substantial social enterprise accepting donated goods and selling them in their large store. I picked up this wonky glass flute, just right for this peperomia. Perhaps it’s too near. More than half our furniture came from Emmaus. It’s a good source of eveything including books.

I’m running along Mere Way, a Roman Road near my village. This continues to be my current running route and is so much more enjoyable than pavements. Access to it is from a long farm road cul de sac with few cars and occasional large farm machinery. Fairly well used by runners, cyclists and walkers, it’s currently under threat by proposed A10 rerouting plans which would go right through it and the surrounding farm land.. Possibly this might call for militant environmental protest in the future. We’ll see!

My knee injury seems to have improved. I gave cycling up because it was too time consuming and running feels so much more time efficient and natural. I was doing 12k every other day but I found this knocked me out a bit. I am now doing 9k every other day with a 12k occasionally and this seems to work well. My problematic right knee remains a little swollen, and feels stiff initially when I get up but causes no problems when running. So, good result. If I put too much pace in, I do feel it aching at night but not enough to wake me. Additionally, with this running regime I have lost weight, around nine pounds and this has helped my knee.

Of course, the temptation when running is going well is to do more and I have revived an interest in fell running. I have never done this before but the urge to travel to a suitable fell is almost irristable. The nearest would be the Peak District national park, about two hours drive away or the Lake District, about four hours. It goes without saying I would need fell running shoes like Inov8s. At least I would be seen to have the right kit when I break my ankle or my knee snaps in half. For the moment I’ll just watch those very seductive fell race you tube videos.

Indoor plants have taken over the model making at the moment and I like to customise my teraccotta pots.

 

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We visited the Henry Moore Studios and Gardens in Hertfordshire recently and it was wonderful to see the monumental sculptures in an open grassland setting. The house was shut but most of the outside studio spaces were open and there was plenty of room to socially distance. A beautiful, creative place for thinking and relaxing.

Do say : What a phenomenally talented, innovative man that Henry Moore was.

Don’t say : What the bloody hell does it all mean? He’s an odd fish and no mistake!

Right wingers, Conservatives, Republicans white supremacists, fascists. Oh, and throw in the Christian Right evangelicals (a genuine oxymoron} They are all characterised by xenophobia, homophobia, racism, a fear of loss, anger, a huge sense of their own entitlement being under threat and an overwhelming concern with their class welfare alongside an absence of empathy for society at large, other cultures and vulnerable minorities. It’s a long sentence but could be longer. These people and some groups share these characteristics to a greater or lesser extent. For examples, see any of Trump’s outbursts/tantrums/tweets. For the the UK Tory goverment take the example of how the elderly in the care homes were abandoned by the goverment during the Covid pandemic and died in their thousands. See how the government was forced into a U turn by footballer Marcus Rashford after they were shamed into continuing food vouchers for the poorest families during the school holidays. Or how a Syrian asylum seeker, working in a hospital in East London, made an impassioned plea, on behalf of immigrant NHS workers shockingly excluded from the government’s bereavement compensation scheme and forced to pay a premium to use the hospitals they were risking their lives to keep going. Boris Johnson U turned the next day. Just everyday cruelty courtesy of the Tory party if they can get away with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janathon Day 26 Bleakness and gales

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I decided yet again not to run with the club tonight but go for a solitary long run during daylight. The sky was overcast and it was very windy. I usually love running by the river but the light was poor and there was a very strong, sustained  headwind. At times it felt like I was making little forward progress and the wind chill made me cold. As a matter of habit I run towards Cambridge (and, of course, the river Cam goes through Cambridge) but I decided to turn around and not complete the intended distance.

With the wind behind me I made better progress and decided on a footpath, which I rarely take, towards Ely, still along side the river but with open views across the fens and cultivated fields. Despite the openness, it was less windy but the dismal, grim light remained. There was nobody about and it was , bleak, bleak, bleak.

I ran up to Bottisham Lock and felt so lonely I was compelled to talk to this motorised sluice gate winding gear as I stood staring at the unyielding landscape. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t respond. I regurgitated the one joke I know. Still no response. I gave up and moved on.

Total distance : 5.76 miles

The Guardian, today, gives headline prominence to statistics obtained by the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb which reveal that deaths among mental health patients has risen by 21% over the last three years, from 1,412 to 1,713. There has also been a large increase in “serious incidents” – involving unexpected or avoidable deaths, serious harm, injury and abuse. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/26/rise-mental-health-patient-deaths-nhs-struggling-to-cope

These outcomes are linked with cuts to mental health service funding and the consequent degradation of services in the community and  hospitals and the substantial reduction in hospital beds. You’ve got to be a Tory not to care!

 

Janathon Day 21 It’s all about the image, man

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In the spring or summer I hope to do a bit of trail or fell running somewhere in the UK. Never done it before. I’ve only taken in occasional steep hills or undulating countryside. We’ll probably try to identify a race that’s manageable for an inexperienced fell runner rather than opting to run up and down something that should be tackled with ropes, crampons and ice axes. Nor do I want to be in a race with ultra tough looking fell men that eat ice when they need a drink and run up as fast as they run down. There must be something suitable for a soft Southerner (living in the East).

I’m currently doing a screen printing course for complete beginners, during the daytime, in a local college. It’s in a large art room/studio full of much used art equipment, paint stained sinks, racks, screen print benches of varying sizes and everything to support multi media. Second session tomorrow. It’s a bit like being back at school but more relaxed and with a benign teacher.

Another night time run. Didn’t really feel like it initially. After 5 minutes I came alive and felt much more alert and energetic. That’s the thing with running – it wakes you up!

Parkrun on the weekend. We’ll do Wimpole Hall Estate. It’ll be muddy and slow but we’ll be with friends, have a nice mug of coffee post run and the bookshop will beckon. Heaven.

 

Janathon Day 19 Something like winter

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Hard frost this morning, around -5C or -6C. Brrrrrrrrrr!

 

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No, this isn’t Siberia or the frozen Alaskan wastes, it’s Worts Meadow in rural Cambridgeshire but there are undeniable similarities. All three locations are pretty chilly and require the correct standard of clothing and protection to survive the hazardous environment. Luckily I made it home unscathed, accompanied by Rupert the dalmatian (he didn’t fare so well. The intense cold caused a couple of his spots to fall off).

I had previously decided not to run with the club tonight (a planned fartlek around Cambridge) and instead do a long run by the river. The temperature was one or two degrees above zero and I wore my heaviest cycling jacket to keep the cold at bay. In the end I ran a bit further than I anticipated and did just over 10 miles. I came across surprising number of runners of all ages( and the obligatory walkers cluttering up the tow path).

Janathon total so far around 69 miles (running).

Janathon Day 18 Everyone’s gawping at everyone else

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I took this picture of Trinity College’s Jerwood Library, on the bank of the Cam, yesterday. The light was poor, I was cold and it was taken with the wrong lens. To make matters worse, I was just able to lip read one of the gilded youths inside the warm library. He turned towards another chap, who was probably clutching a teddy bear, and said “Look at that twit, standing in the cold, trying to take photo of us with his silly telephoto lens.”

Another cold day, today. The temperature didn’t go much above zero centigrade and tomorrow morning it will be more like -3 or -4c. I went for an afternoon run, starting in an adjacent village and running along the Cam in the opposite direction to usual, that is towards Ely rather than Cambridge, There’s no clay cycle path going this way and it proved to be very muddy. I did around 3 miles which felt enough.

Aliveandrunning June 27 2014 Juneathon Day 27

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The madness of the off road runner. I was drawn to the on coming tornado like an iron filing to a magnet. I ran across uncharted fields, untrodden since medieval times. I felt an urge to embrace the tornado like some people hug trees and then to enter the centre of the funnel where Iwould experience a transcendent peace. As I raced ever nearer, I spied cows and pigs swirling around the vortex 50 metres off the ground. I sang Follow the Yellow Brick Road in my head. I was a few seconds away from being sucked in but at the last moment, it abruptly changed direction and at such a speed I was unable to follow. The heavens opened up and I got thoroughly soaked. I took it easy on the homeward journey but still got jogger’s nipple. It could have been a lot worse!

About 5.5k in all. The paths were very overgrown in parts. There was no-one around. The loneliness of the short distance runner.

Tomorrow we’ll go to Wimpole Estate parkrun as Cambridge parkrun is not happening.

Very interesting and thought provoking headlines in the Daily Star about a prediction by scientists that a new generation of rats will be the size of cows. The same paper tempted you with the front page description of another story inside : “Evil Savile Sicko Sex.” This is the level of a lot of discussion about Jimmy Savile’s decades long sexual abuse of men and women, adolescents and young children. It leaves you with absolutely no appreciation or understanding of how or why this behaviour might have come about, how a person might develop such proclivities. http://bit.ly/1mEcx8E This link to The Guardian’s Oliver James assists a more grown up view of what may be going on in this man’s head. Such a pity there is very little discussion at this level.