OK, I am willing to concede that ‘cheerful’ may not always be my default setting, but today’s run has found me with a certain (if slightly demented) smile on my face. (I’m sure that you’ve got the drift by now that the day of writing is not necessarily the day of publishing – I am nowhere near that organised – so, if meteorological references do not match up with what you are seeing through your window today, I apologise. I have posted a nice photo at the top to help you with your ‘visualisation processes’. In truth, this disconnection may be even more profound today, because I am actually writing this down tomorrow, as it were, for reasons that may – or may not – become clearer as we go along). Today (that being yesterday as I write and possibly even last week by the time you read it) I ran in beautiful Spring sunshine*. The white carpet of snowdrops that glisten along the hedgerows has been supplemented by yellow and violet crocuses (croci?) aconytes, narcissi and daffodils; the sky is blue and cloudless and the sun is warm on my back. Even the sight (site?) of an abandoned TV, three-quarters of somebody’s old kitchen and a three-legged dining room chair in the ditch at the side of the road only impacts on my mood transiently. Spring has sprung and I am in high spirits. I have discovered that I am capable of running and being happy at the same time.
Breathing is, sadly, a bit of an issue: the trees are pumping out pollen like their future depends upon it (which, of course, it does) and most of it is making its way up my snout. I have tissues in both pockets and both hands and I cannot even smell the giant heap of steaming manure that has materialised in the field alongside the newly built houses – although I’m pretty sure that the ‘new to the countryside’ owners can (nobody ever fully appraises you of the fact that for large chunks of the year, all that rural England smells of is Cow Parsley and shit) – but I am not dispirited. It is Spring and I am enjoying my run – even when the grinning ‘Community Ambulance’ driver forces me off the road and through something brown and sticky. (I’m hoping it’s mud. I will find out soon enough when I get home and my wife – who has the olfactory acuity of a bloodhound – gets a whiff of it**.) I ran further than I have before and I ran quicker. I am a man reborn. This heightened mood could last until the very last pickings of brambles in the autumn, or until the very next ministerial broadcast on Covid – you can probably guess which is the most likely.
Which brings me on to the evening (and the reason why today is actually yesterday) and the local Covid vaccination station. Yesterday we were Astra Zeneca’d (I’m not coming over all Royal Family there, we were both vaccinated). It has cheered me up even further. It was brilliantly organised and everyone was so cheerful and helpful (Thank you NHS) even when the internet failed – the site is in the middle of nowhere – and we had to sit for twenty minutes whilst many uniformed people wandered around looking perplexed. I presume that the confusion means that it hadn’t happened before: it was waiting for me. Well, I don’t care. It can bugger off. I’m happy***.
We visited four ‘chip shops’ on the way home as we decided we deserved a treat. The first two were closed. The third refused to put anything new in the friers because they were about to close and didn’t want to waste chips – the fact that we were there to buy them did not, somehow, compute – would we like a pie? The fourth was open and proudly displayed the fact that it was under new ownership. It was truly awful. The best thing about it was the satisfying ‘thunk’ it made as it hit the bin. I had ice cream with golden syrup and cream instead. (Oh come on – try it. You’ll never look back.) A good day that ended far too late to write about – particularly as it was time to get back up to speed with ‘Line of Duty’.
Reasons to be cheerful? Today (Tomorrow/yesterday, who knows?) there are plenty. Don’t worry; it’s unlikely to last…
*A note from the future: today it is cold and murky. Everything is shrouded in a thick blanket of fog. As is usual in this country, Spring has both sprung and disappeared with an alarming synchronicity. Somehow we have skipped onto Autumn, which means that another bout of Winter is almost certainly bound to arrive, shrivelling spring blooms and freezing the blossom from the trees, with the consequence that when Spring finally arrives again, all that the sleepy little bees will find with which to make honey will be KFC wrappers, somebody’s discarded dining arrangements and a strangely besieged helleborous.
**A further note from the future: it wasn’t mud.
***Yet another note from the future: we both had a headache the following morning, but nothing worse than that. Still happy.
The whole sorry tale of my attempts to run stated here with ‘Couch to 5k’
The previous instalment or the Running Man diaries, ‘The Running Man on Plodding On’ is here.
The next Running Man ‘...On the Path’ is here.