I found myself running through Granton the other night. The moon was high and bobulous like the red bobbles on the tree. The rush hour was in full swing. Rather than get stuck in traffic jams, I dumped the car in a posh street and headed out for 3 miles along past Leith before turning at McDonalds. No, I wasn’t tempted, thank you very much.
It was entertaining to have a sneaky peer in the windows of the nice houses down from Trinity Road before the streetscape gave way to a more commercial and dayglow vista. There were a couple of pubs that looked welcoming (the Starbank being one of them) and there were a couple of fancy restaurants along the way. I spent a little while dodging folk as they busied themselves getting on and off buses or standing peering in shop windows...always the cheapest way to shop!
Once the festive windows ran out, I made do with snippets of the conversation of passing folk. I told myself I’d remember a few of them, but only the one from the two young men in trenchcoats and beanies stuck...’ but then its economics; so I lost interest’. Not an economist then, I mused.
I passed a female runner in pink top and backpack on the other side of the road as I came back through the exotically named Salamander Street. The wind was picking up then, so I was happy to finish and can report that my car was very definitely the dirtiest one in the street.The busy week has seen me trying to shoe horn in any exercise I can snaffle wherever I am. This culminated on Monday in 20 miles over Plenmeller Hill just past Haltwhistle with over 2000ft of climbing. I was pretty much alone on the road and really enjoyed the workout, especially for the upper body...struggling up the long steep gradients with the odd sparrowhawk for company. Cold, wild desolate moorland. I don’t know why they didn’t put the climbs around Alston and Haltwhistle in the '100 greatest cycling hill climbs' book, but evidently there are several monster climbs in the area, and I will be frequenting these with alacrity especially as I have work in the area that’ll mean a few return visits.
Meanwhile while the mileage is suffering, I’m weighing in like a elephant seal whose had too many jaffa cakes, so the purge must go on. It’s the Christmas cyclo cross tomorrow at South Shields and the Morpeth 11k on New Years Day, so a chance to burn off a few of these mince pies I’m wearing. All the best.