Sunday, 27 January 2013


There’s two things I couldn’t give up.
One’s tea, the other’s biscuits
Ok, then,  there's three.  Tea and biscuits...and music
(and maybe running or sport: But then that’s four)

The question is, could you live on the combination of the three (and assuming you can run as well?).

The tea and biscuits element is simple. If you have it and like it, fine. Aunt Aggie, despite her dotage, is never without digestives or shortie; always on tap. Garibaldi’s were in for a while, as were fig rolls; We’ve even had orange creams.  For a while, lemon puffs were indispensable. But who cares: As long as there’s something to crunch on and the shortcrusts keep arriving from the shops or the oven (and we can get the lid off the barrel), we’re easily satisfied.  
The third element, Music, is a very different creature.  As I age and life becomes less reliable, the body less malleable, I fancy re-modelling myself as a distance runner.  It’s true,  I haven’t properly tested myself on the track, either at short or middle distance. Unfinished work for an oldie.   

As the distance of my typical training runs extend (at least this winter), the tiny music centre and ear-inserts make the banality more bearable as I convince myself that anything less than 10 miles is lightweight.  To match this bigger appetite, a bigger sound landscape is required. Sometimes it’s Simple Minds, Chicane and M83.  Sometimes it’s all that unfashionable stuff that is grouped together as Prog rock. Pat Methany is even in there somewhere, as long as he's got Lyle Mays on the keys. 

Early Genesis and Steve Hackett has got me through some very snowy, long runs of late. On Friday I found myself winding my way around Sandsend village near Whitby and joining the old railway and then up, onto the Cleveland Way. Early on, while I was down in the cove at sea level: I was in the littoral climate. It was mild and it was easy. I was too hot with four layers on. 
As soon as I’d climbed up onto the top of the moors on a steep cobbled, vertical path that would have made Gollum blanch, it was a different story.  

Desolation. The wind cracked across the empty barren fields, the snow drifted. Ice. Insular families of grouse hid behind walls and under hedges.  Two snow hares looked on me nervously as I trudged through the crusty, icy snow fields as I made my way north. It was late afternoon.  The sky just got greyer, darker and greyer. I felt myself exposed. The insidious side-wind hit my face. It was giving me a good slapping. Contemptuous. I had two thick hats on but it still battered me and its thick, icy fingers punched up from the underside of my hat. My ears began to hurt after 5 miles. Nearly an hour.  Only 5 miles.

Turning around was little comfort as light fell to nothing and I followed the coastline. Darkness fell as I got back to Sandsend and after nearly 2 hours, I crept back to the hotel.  
The old phone I passed was a throwback. 

When I got back, I must have spent an hour in the bath.

Bloody great run upon reflection, in a perverse way of course...No one out there, but me, the grouse, the hares.   A Sea King was off somewhere else for good reason. Possibly for the biscuit run..or the tea...  

1 comment:

Forest Bethell said...

Chocolate hobnobs are my weapons of mass destruction alongside a nice brew. Makes the effort worthwhile :)