27 August – Poop Scooping and Santa’s Scooter

It had got very hot, Lucifer having being summarily dispatched earlier on in the year, had sent his little pesky brother Michael to haunt us, so although not hitting the 40s we did have mid 30s to contend with.

Saturday I donned rubber gloves to do the weekly litter pick outside the front of our house. I love Italy very much, the people and food and culture are all fab, but there is one thing that I do not understand. Towns and cities are invariably cleaner than those back home in the UK. Generally you don’t see wanton littering. Here nonnas and parents tell their children off for littering, but then chucking stuff out of the car in the countryside is apparently fine. It was hot and I hate doing the job, but I loathe seeing the rubbish even more. And so I find myself picking up someone’s very human message. Go figure, you carry toilet tissue with you, you do your business and then you chuck it out the window in the front of someone’s house…

Sunday morning, the usual faff of putting on the interval timer, Map My Run,  music, and I treated myself to Mr Smooth on the Week 9 podcast. I am but a simple bear, and what seemed to happen was the ‘shuffle’ element, seemed to reshuffle each time either MMR, the interval timer or Mr Smooth came on, even mid-record. Frustrating – not sure I am going to bother with the interval timer any more…  A competition between an interval timer beeping and Mr Smooth is no contest at all.

So the usual descent down the Slope of Hope, all is quiet even the balcony dogs aren’t out. I turn into the Hill that Kills, and notice that the Farm Fresh Eggs house have built a small presepio – that is a Nativity scene, but they’ve made it out of garden implements. Cute! Decide it’s way too dangerous to take a picture, as that may f… up the technology even more, but make a mental note to do it nearer Christmas time, when it will seem more apt. Making my way to Lovers’ Lane, I see the piadina lady coming with all her cookery stuff to set up her stall. Evidently she’s in a hurry, I feel the rush of air as she passes. No Albina and Anouska today, I think they probably go to church on Sundays.

Running back I get ‘goosed’ by the barking beagles, who always catch me out, so another unplanned leap in the air and I continue. Today is all about seeing if I can run 5K, if I can’t no big deal, but if I can that would be fab. Retracing my steps back down the Hill that Kills I turn towards the Scary Bendy Road. This is a long wideish road, with curves aplenty, recently tarmaced and it reminds me of a winding staircase. It has falsi flatti, which are very deceptive.

I pass yet another ‘dog’ house on the left, they go mental and the cacophony of barking follows me around the corner, where there is another gap and they have another go. Okay any thoughts of being calm and collected on a Sunday morning go out the window, so I tell them to eff off. At that time two pedestrian runners came into view. Oops, I don’t know if they heard me or not. I cling onto the hope that as my Italian friends say, swearing in English in a foreign country doesn’t count!

At this stage the Mechanical Voice Lady tells me I have run 4km, mmmm that’s at about 3 minutes to go on my scheduled timer of 33 minutes running, I decide that I should go for the 5K if I can. Engaging tiptoe gear, helps me slow down my pace, and I keep going until yes, I did the 5k. All in all about 38 minutes, that’s not bad because it’s still blinking hot here.

In all my haste to make sure I did the 5k, I hadn’t really planned my route, so was 3.2km from home. Ho hum, a bit longer than the planned warm down walk, but okay needs must. There is something very bizarre about being a runner when you are walking, I always feel the need to swing my arms more briskly as a signal that this is not a stroll. So briskly swinging my arms, walking back up the Bendy Scary Road towards home, an oncoming scooter waves at me. Well what do you know it’s Babbo Natale, and funnily enough his scooter is a very Christmassy red. I think I have a scoop, Babbo Natale spends summers in Le Marche, he cuts his beard – a summer cut – very sensible indeed, and favours a scooter over his reindeers.

This makes me smile, people here are so very friendly compared to back home in London. I make my way slowly back up the Slope of Hope, and turn the corner, to see that even though I did shit picking only yesterday, I have to litter pick again today.


Dear Babbo Natale,

I know it’s only August but for Christmas I would like you to ask the motorists around here to take their ‘messages’ and their rubbish home.

Lots of love and in hope.



Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Rehab (twice in succession) – Amy Winehouse
Help Me Rhonda and Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
Crazy in Love – Beyonce
Hot In the City – Billy Idol
Mony Mony – Billy Idol
Girls and Boys, Tracy Jacks, and Parklife (in succession) – Blur
Crazy In Love – Beyonce
True Faith 94 – New Order
Glory Days – The Boss
Hungry Heart – The Boss
Mulder and Scully – Catatonia
Reap The Wild Wind – Ultravox
Joan of Arc – OMD
Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Andy You’re a Star – The Killers

Distance 8.19km
Time 1.13.29
Average Pace 8.38 mins/km
Personal Best of 6.56 mins/km
1st 5k done in 38 minutes – yeesss…. 🙂

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