1 July – Stranger Danger

 

Or as that rather corny homily would have it, strangers are friends you have yet to meet. Yuck!  It’s a hot, hot, hot Sunday morning – hitting 25 degrees in the hills and I wander out for my run. Having had an enforced day off due to migraine, I’m keen to get going again.

Actually, let’s be honest I’m not in the least bit interested in getting going again, my running legs and head are somewhere else, they’re certainly not in Le Marche today. I trudge very slowly into the garden and hear a loud buzzing noise, our lavender is once more a haven for all the local bees, working busily to gather nectar. I faff about looking at the bees and let’s be honest I’m no David Attenborough so had no idea what I was looking at. After about 2 minutes of bee watching/further faffing, I decide I really should run as very minute delay means less shade available.

I start my warm up walk, out to Mill Lane – flick my usual v-sign to the water pumping station. Three months on from Watergate and we still don’t know what we have to pay the water company… still it means we can happily spend the money on ice cream, wine and fine living until the day of reckoning comes. I do a little detour towards Lovers’ Lane and back up the Hill That Kills, towards the bendy, scary road. So far no strangers around, but it is a quiet hot Sunday morning.

Then the action hots up, first up a cyclist in lycra panting and puffing up the bendy, scary road. The biggest problem I have with cyclists here is that as Mr JCR is a member of a local cycling club, I assume I recognise most cyclists, even though his club are elsewhere this morning. That knowledge doesn’t stop me putting my hand up and saying ciao to a complete and utter stranger who wobbled slightly as he looked back at the plainly mad Englishwoman who’s trying to pick him up!  Okay that didn’t go too well JCR, then a man with a ‘zapper’ clearing up his garden says hello, I don’t know him so wave vaguely.

I am pootling along and take a breather for some water, when a little wizened old man in a rusty Fiat Cinquecento, slows down and says ‘brava’. No idea who he was either. On through Royston Vasey, no one is around and I am able to run without interruption or traffic dodging.  I’m shade seeking today and so swap road sides to gain the benefit from the trees, the downside, is I am now running in the same direction as the traffic – but it is only for a small stretch. I get overtaken by the carabinieri and I always wave at them to stay friendly – you never know when you may need them. But these carabinieri aren’t the usual ones – so another  set of strangers greeted. I switch back across the road and a young guy on a bike is cycling slowly, laden down with what looks like ten loaves of bread. He says ciao too. No idea who he is, I’ve never seen him before – quite clearly there’s a lot of friendly folk around today.

I make my way to the fish shop village and not a soul in sight, I think they’ve all gone to the beach early on. No more strangers to greet or to greet me. I hit my 9km mark at the cafe, where Gio at the bar, looks at my steaming face, says nothing but quickly pours me a long, cool glass of water. I take a break, refill my water bottles and continue. I have in mind to run up the bitch of a pitch today and I need all the water I can get, as it’s an unremitting ascent with little shade. As I am slowing for a sip of water, I get overtaken by my friend B who very kindly offers me a lift back up the hill to home if I need one. I thank her profusely, but decline politely. As all runners know, when you have an audience you have to run both faster and more athletically than you do normally. Once she turned off my normal plodding gait returned.

Blimey, oh Riley the bitch of a pitch hurts, so I tried fartlek – which is a sprint, then slow running, except it was more of a plod followed by an even slower plod. Further up the hill, just after the really horrid 18% gradient shown, I saw our friends M&G coming towards me, clearly all dressed up for Sunday lunch. They all waved and smiled, but at that point if they’d offered me a lift up the hill I would have said yes. I truthfully couldn’t run another step, so hit the stop button and walked home. I started out seeing strangers and ended up on the road home seeing friends. That’s not a bad run.

Playlist

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Perfect Day – Lou Reed

Wake Me Up When September Ends

All Day And All Of The Night – The Kinks

What About Us – The Saturdays

Seasons In The Sun – Terry Jacks

December, 1963 – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Spring Affair – Donna Summer

Dancing In The Dark – The Boss

Summr of ’69 = Bryan Adams

The Boys of Summer – Don Henley

Forever Autumn -Justin Hayward

Hazy Shade Of Winter – The Bangles

Winter Melody – Donna Summer

Year Of the Cat – Al Stewart

7 Years – Lukas Graham

Right Here, Right Now – High Street Musical Cast

1999 – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground

Sunday Girl – Blondie

I Don’t Like Mondays – Boomtown Rats

Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones

Fall at Your Feet – Crowded House

8 Mile – Eminem

Stepping Out – Joe jackson

Step On – Happy Mondays

One Step Beyond – Madness

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac

Stats

Distance 12.53km

Time 1:42:41

Average Pace 8:11

Elevation Gain 193 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1121.74

Kms to Do 896.26 (under the 900s!)

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