Thursday 30 April 2020

A new route......

While out running the other morning I noticed a new path had been opened up where none existed before.  It appeared to have been an animal trail, fox or badger, but fencing had been removed and made accessible to homo sapiens .  It appeared well worn.
Start of new path     (Click to enlarge)
On a sunny afternoon I set out to investigate for having lived, walked and run around the area for 42 years, I thought I knew every path for miles around.   It began about ¾ mile from home through a pair of ivy covered stumps and followed a leafy hedge into Mellor Wood where I expected it to end. 
A blue haze
But it continued on its merry way through ancient trees where blackbirds and chaffinches sang and a woodpecker was giving itself a headaches hammering at something in the distance.
 Gary, an old friend of mine I've run hundreds of miles with but now living in Kiwi country, regards this wood as one of the most beautiful places on earth, mainly on account of its dense carpet of bluebells in Spring.  They aren't quite at their best yet.
That steep uphill
The path led out into a steep, open field where on sunny evenings my lurcher often had fun chasing a playful hare that would sit up and wait for Meg to catch up before racing her uphill at great speed. The hare always won.
Do not disturb
I could understand why as I huffed and puffed back to Clough Hall where an acquaintance had just kicked off his boots and settled into a pair of hammock type seats.
Fancy a run?
A thundering behind me as I crossed another field was one of the horses I run past in the early mornings.  I think it recognized me and came to say hello.
It stayed two metres away..

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Once a runner...

When my mobile rang and a voice said I was due for another eye injection in a few days time my heart sank.  I knew the appointment was due, and I needed it, but I really didn't want to go anywhere near a hospital in the present climate.   Reluctantly I said "OK, but I hope the waiting room isn't as crowded as on past visits"   I was assured that appointments were being well spaced out and there'd be plenty of room for patients to stay well apart.
Empty waiting room and chairs well spaced     (Click to enlarge)
    The driver of the small ambulance was completely partitioned off from anyone in the rear.  I was given a face mask and told to sit at the back.    On arrival at the hospital the waiting room was completely empty, not even a receptionist.  In no time at all my name was called and I was led to an ante room for dilating drops before entering the theatre. 
Don't be frightened, I wont harm you..
A cheerful nurse wanted to know if it was still cold outside.  
"Not as cold as it was at 5 o'clock this morning" I replied.   
I think she knew exactly what I meant, that I'm a crazy runner!
A doctor I only know as Ross administered the injection quickly and efficiently and in less than an hour I was back home again, half blind and wearing a mask under my dark glasses.
The sun was up at 5.50
Next day was a rest day, waiting for my eyes to re-focus so that I didn't go stumbling all over the place.   It was followed by a clear night with Venus beaming through my bedroom window, assuring me next morning would be beautiful.  She was right...
I got up, had a strong coffee and set out to greet the sun. 
Gorse at its best and an empty road
Jen, the girl I usually meet, was on her way down.  She's only a walker but according to her Fitbit had covered 7.8 miles a couple of days before.  I told her in just over a week, when I reach the tender age of 88, I might become a walker too.
A view to savour before going home
I continued through flowering gorse to the top of the hill for another great angle on the sunrise.
How can I ever stop running?

Thursday 9 April 2020

Where no virus lurks...

I've been trying to get out for a dawn run every other day but sunrise is getting a bit too early for me now.  This morning for instance it was peeping over the horizon at 6.20 am which meant I had to be out of bed by 5.30 to have a reviving coffee before setting off to my usual viewpoint.
My favourite time of day - Sunrise   ( click to enlarge)
It was hardly daylight as I set out through fields crunchy with frost and a full moon setting before me to the West.  Birds were beginning to sing.  A string of horses resting by the hedge took no notice as I ran by.  Not even a blink.
Frozen car at Clough Hall
A girl I've seen twice before was on her way down as I plodded up, so goodness knows what time she got up.   A group of three people were sitting on the grass at the top.  Don't ask!
Beacon of hope
 And of course the usual dog walkers had driven up.  I say dog walkers but they stroll round the hill while their two unruly dogs charge all over hunting for rabbits.  And attacking me.  Which is why I took a couple of quick shots of the sunrise, then scarpered!  I was home before 7 o'clock.  It clouded over and I never saw the sun again..
That shirt
I've included this shirt photograph because the printing is very apt in the present climate, and I thought it looked better worn than hung over a chair!
Victoria Tower lit up for the NHS
 Each Thursday night at 8 pm we stand by our doors or windows and clap our appreciation of the amazing NHS staff for all the dedicated work they do.  The latest session was quite deafening for in addition to clapping folk were banging sauce pans and even letting off fireworks.   It was all very emotional.  As an added gesture Victoria Tower on Castle Hill was illuminated in pale blue light and a planet shone way above it..
Even the heavens gave thanks

Sunday 5 April 2020

The sun always rises.....

After all the hours spent indoors it was a real joy to get out at sunrise into the cool, clear air.  We're officially allowed to go out once each day for exercise but, as an octogenarian, I find every other day is enough.  And that depends on the weather!
Beautiful sunrise, worth getting up early for    (Click to enlarge)
Robins, blackbirds and a pheasant were proclaiming their territorial rights, and I heard a chiff-chaff in the blackthorn.   Approaching the top of Castle hill gorse was in full bloom and although the day hadn't yet warmed up I caught a faint whiff of its vanilla scent.
Gorse in bloom
In spite of it being so early there were people about.  A girl out running gave me a smile and a wide berth.  A family group were chattering away on Castle Hill and I caught a glimpse of the local poacher, but not his dogs.  They must have been hunting.
Victoria Tower and beacon, Castle Hill
A lone gentleman waved as he passed at a safe distance.  Everyone was cheerful for it was one of those mornings that lift the spirits and make it feel good to be alive.  I pray for many more mornings like it until this dreadful virus has disappeared.