Tuesday 24 March 2015

What a difference a day makes.......

From one day to another I never know what to wear, but usually opting for as little as possible.  On Wednesday we'd beautiful warm sunshine when crocuses in my garden opened to their fullest extent, their bright faces soaking up the life-giving sun. As was mine as I sat outside in a warm corner, reading until late afternoon.
Sun-worshipping crocuses...    (Click to enlarge)
 On Thursday I awoke to freezing smog, as our local radio station called it, which got thicker as I ascended the few hundred feet onto Castle Hill for my morning circuits. A couple of dog walkers were there before me, one of them a lady who, until recently, used to run seven circuits of the hill each morning before breakfast. She'd been injured, she said (haven't we all?), but hoped the doctor would give her clearance to start running again in the next couple of weeks or so. "Excellent" I said, "I might have someone to run with then". Thinking about it afterwards, it dawned on me she was an awful lot younger than me and probably ran at twice my speed. I don't think her old Alsatian dog would be very keen on the idea either....
It was mainly cloudy for the partial eclipse of the sun, but managed to catch this odd shot of it....
 Saturday dawned clear but bitterly cold, 3ºF but well below that in a blustery North wind. Stopping to buy meat at Keelham on our way back to the Dales we were almost blown off our feet in the car park. It felt wonderful to climb back into a warm car. Back in Hebden we lingered long over morning coffee before donning several layers to go our different ways, my wonderful partner for a sensible low level  run around Appletreewick, me for an 8 mile circuit onto Grassington Moor and over Bycliffe Hill.
Saturday's dreary scene on Grassington Moor....
Running north for the first 4 miles I would get the worst of it over with at the start, but it was like running through a wind tunnel as I set off up Hebden Ghyll and I'll admit to taking an occasional walk to get my breath back and ease my aching legs. It was heaven to reach the turn-around point at 'Casino Royale', to run with the wind and feel the sun on my frozen chest as I climbed to the high point at 1,570ft. A large bird of prey was quartering the moor to my right, in the way Hen Harriers do, but I was too cold to spend time investigating. I was hell bent on getting back home as soon as possible.
Hot soup was calling.....
Lambs enjoying the sun on appropriately called Sunday...
 Sunday was totally different. The wind had dropped and there wasn't a cloud in the sky as I walked to Chapel for the early morning service. Sitting in a warm pew I was soon regretting having donned an extra Damart layer, thinking it would still be cold, and began day dreaming about stripping down to shorts and T-shirt for a run up on the moor. To the Minister's consternation I announced the wrong chapter for my reading, but fortunately read the right verses for her sermon, much to her relief!
It wasn't long before my day dreaming became reality, for soon after the service I set off to repeat the previous day's route. 

Faster, higher, stronger - my octogenarian motto......
Gosh, what a difference. And how good it felt. I'd donned a skimpy pair of shorts, to get as much sun on my disgustingly white legs as possible, with a thin thermal under my vest that I could stuff into my bumbag if it got too warm. Or I could just roll up the sleeves.  I love to feel the sun on my body, as much of my body as is decently acceptable, though in places where I run I rarely meet anyone else. By the time I reached Casino Royale (so called because the opening scene of that film was shot there) I was over-heating and glad to find a patch of snow where I could dowse my face and neck. I lingered on Bycliffe Hill, hoping I might spot the previous day's bird of prey, but it was gone.
Cooling off at that patch of snow......
I lingered again in a particularly warm spot by Cupola Corner, sat on the mossy turf with my back against a rock, watching a pair of rabbits cavorting around, chasing each other, jumping into the air and obviously full of the joys of Spring. I like rabbits, preferably in a casserole with carrots and onions, after the first frost.  
A skylark sang, joined by all the other members of the moorland choir, clear and vibrant in the still air. It felt fantastic to just sit there, to watch, and listen and feel that delicious warmth caressing my bare legs, and arms, and face before jogging gently back home.
I'm glad I made the most of it. Snow is forecast again for Thursday of this week.....

Finally, here's an aria that wont leave me alone - Jose Cura's rendering of "I've never seen a woman like this".
If anyone should hear funny noises erupting from Castle Hill or Grassington Moor.......just turn a deaf ear while I get it out of my system.


  1. I always look forward to your posts - usually on a Monday! But you and the weather fooled me this week.

    Another great post full of fun, laughter and interesting observations ... i did chuckle, perhaps I shouldn't, when "To the Minister's consternation I announced the wrong chapter for my reading, but fortunately read the right verses for her sermon, much to her relief!"

    .....and I did enjoy listening and seeing Jose Cura

    Hope the sun shines again for you this week.

    All the best Jan

    1. Due to poor eyesight I have to type Bible readings out in larger print - and I didn't find out the reading until Saturday afternoon when I was listening to Six Nations matches. In my hurry typing it I put John Chapter 20 instead of 12. I noticed a wee gasp from the pulpit as I read it out!
      Jose is a great showman, brilliant tenor, and not overweight like some of them - notably Pavarotti who I'm told weighed around 33st. After I've given up running I'll put a bit of weight on and have another go at singing 'Donna nom vidi mai'.
      Cheers Jan.......

  2. The best kind of running, for sure. (Out in nature, I mean). I can just see and feel the environment as you describe it. Bliss! (Hope the snow stays away!)

    1. Agreed Karien, I've always been a 'nature boy' and running gets me there quicker! There's a bit of snow on the hill today, and a bitterly cold wind, but it's my day off so hopefully clear by tomorrow...
      Hope the cold/sore throat is getting better so you can get out to dirty those new shoes.