26 July 2018
This morning I had my third appointment at the Running School. To be honest, after the camping and travelling I wasn’t feeling the love. Neither was I entirely convinced I’d get through it. What I really should have been doing, once I got home, was resting and stretching, with maybe a little bit of practicing the glute bridges, twisting stretches and the like. There’d been barely any time for all that though. What with the unpacking, washing, shopping, Old Cemetery visiting, picture taking at the mile race, editing and posting said photos, trying to catch up with the newsletter writing, blah, blah, blah, I’d barely had time to blink.
My back and leg felt a great deal better than they had on Saturday morning when I was hobbling around the Thunder Run course in the half light trying not to fall down a pot hole. There was still a certain amount of residual aching though and a touch of toe numbness to remind me all was not well. The walk on the Common and a couple of walks to the shops had helped a little, as had a nice soft bed. Stretching though, had been confined to a few short moments when I was waiting for the washing machine to finish, or while I was standing at the sink washing up.
When I left the house this morning it felt as if I’d walked into an oven. The heat was searing. Luckily I’d allowed myself plenty of time for the three and a half mile walk. By the time I reached Monks Walk, barely five hundred yards from my front door, I was scrabbling around in my bag for my water bottle. The dog roses growing along the footpath were actually turning into dried flowers on the bush. If I hadn’t been so thirsty I might have taken pity on them and given them some of my water.
Even the leaves on the blackberries were drying out and the berries were ripening before their time. Every garden I passed looked parched and brown. The last time it rained here was in May and water meters mean everyone is afraid to water their gardens. Only the Mediterranean plants look truly happy.
Slowly I made my way towards the river, hoping it would be cooler beside the water. It wasn’t. There was no breeze blowing off the water. In fact it felt as if there was no air at all. The park was more or less empty. Watching the swans on the Itchen as I passed I envied them the cool, clear water.
Amongst the swans there were two white ducks. Usually there’s only one and it’s at the other end of the park near Mansbridge. Seeing them made me wonder if the odd looking ducks CJ and I saw a while ago near Mansbridge were actually young white ducks. When we saw them we thought they might be the product of a white duck mating with a mallard. Now I wondered if young white ducks, like white swans, start off being grey and then turn white?
There is no shade on the path in the first part of the park. Even the swans all seemed to be heading for the jetty, probably to hide underneath where it was cooler. My eyes were firmly fixed on the riverbend by the reed beds. There was a seat there shaded by a tree and I promised myself I’d rest there for a moment, have a drink and maybe eat half the chocolate salty ball I’d put in my bag.
It was a relief to get out of the sun. After a couple of sips of water I noticed an odd blue motorboat heading towards Cobden Bridge. I fished my phone out of my bag and took a photo of it. As I went to put the phone back into my bag I saw I had a voicemail message. The phone number wasn’t one I recognised and, briefly, I thought about ignoring it. It was probably just a marketing call, someone trying to get me to change utility companies or claim PPI. Luckily, I decided to check it out anyway, mostly because it would give me an excuse to sit in the shade for a few more moments.
The message was from Paul’s wife. He’d been taken ill and had had to go home. He was sorry for the late notice but he had to cancel my session. While I felt very sorry that Paul wasn’t well, I can’t say I was disappointed my session was cancelled. To be honest, it felt a little like a reprieve. Now I wouldn’t have to carry on walking in the heat for another two and a bit miles or test just how broken I was after a weekend of camping.
So, I sat for a while in the shade of the trees watching the river flowing past and a group of canoeists and paddle boarders enjoying the water. Often, I tell my running friends that I see much more than them because I move at a far slower pace. Rarely do I ever stop moving altogether though and just sit. Sometimes, suddenly having nothing to do and nowhere to go feels like a blessing.
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