18 August – Le Marche Safari



Tonight Mr JCR and I are going to a fancy dress party – themed jungle and safari, hence the title of my run today. Having been to Africa on safari and also lucky enough to see the Big 5, the thought of outfits for tonight both tantalised and teased. Except in reality they didn’t, who in their right mind would wear a plush, fake fur leopard or lion outfit to a party? Especially in Italy, in summer when it is still 28+ degrees of an evening. I had spotted some of the other attendees looking at hiring animal costumes and I decided it wasn’t for me. I’m hot and bothered every day I run, it’s not a look I need to replicate socially!

Cue the leopard skin lycra frock – better than it sounds I promise and matching Jimmy Choos. If I’m going as a big cat, I’m rocking the Bet Lynch look and despite an ironically raised eyebrow from Mr JCR when he wondered whether I’d be going for the cat face paint option, I shall be going au naturel, well as au naturel as Mr Yves Saint Laurent and Mr Christian Dior cosmetics will allow.

Mr JCR is going as a safari-suited hunter, resplendent with toy pistol, hastily borrowed from our friends’ son.

So to my run today with its safari theme too. First off, I am up early actually having taken Mr JCR’s advice to haul my arse out (my words not his!). I am out of the house by 7.20am, and I see straightaway, that we have been visited by the first of the Le Marche Big 5. That is the rarely seen, tip monkey/dumpster monkey/skip monkey/trash monkey depending on your English preference. I don’t know the Italian for this beast, but here is a helpful description, just so you may recognise the beast if ever it frequents your neighbourhood.

It is nocturnal, although generally preferring to hunt dusk/dawn/twilight when there is still some light available, but their appearance can be hidden from passers-by. Always found near a rubbish dump, builders’ skip etc., in fact anywhere where you have left your ‘rubbish/unwanted goods’. The tip monkey is possessed of cunning, speed and a remarkable talent for as we say ‘mooching’ items away. Hence I spotted that having put out some old garden furniture for removal by the official registered tip monkey company, two of the seats had already been mooched by a local tip monkey. Now what this tip monkey doesn’t know is that whilst the two seats in question looked perfectly good, in fact the polyurethane weaving has been rotted by the high levels of UV here. Any attempt by something heavier than a feather, to sit on said seats, will result in being painfully entrapped by the buttocks impaled on rotten, sharp wicker like netting. As I was musing on the thought of an injured tip monkey, Lord Kitchener walked past me – he didn’t have a guilty look, so I am guessing he is not the tip monkey.

Onto Mill Lane for the more humdrum run and as I enter the lane a rather gorgeous black squirrel crossed the road in front of me. Much smaller than an American grey squirrel, he was fast and sleek and I couldn’t capture him on camera unfortunately – my second of the Le Marche Big 5 beasts. Up towards Lovers’ Lane and I am very early so no sign of Anouska or Albino, just a lady collecting berries from the hedgerows. I do a double loop of Villa Bali’s grounds and take the Mark Cavendish Hill to Royston Vasey.

It’s nice and shady here, no sign of any further beasts, and in the relative cool, I am making a good pace. I run through Royston Vasey without stopping, and continue to the bendy, scary road. It’s quiet here too, just some older cyclists taking a cruise, but still no wildlife. Past the fish shop village and onto Bin Lane, again in shade and I enjoy the feeling of running without being totally sweaty and red faced. Onto the all roads lead to Rome road, again it’s snoozeville here, I make a stop for a rapid coffee and brioche, because I want to tackle War of The Worlds Lane, before the sun is too high in the sky and shade is lost. I continue my run and see ‘eek/yuck/ugh’ a rat scooting across the lane, I guess as the cereal harvesting is in full swing here, it is like a rat’s personal supermarket sweep. Bad enough to have seen one, I had no chance of taking a pic, but I’m glad of that. That is Le Marche beast number three.

Further on in the distance, I see a new road marking with a figure 5 newly painted. Hmm, someone just knew I was searching for the Big 5 today. I had thought the Big 5 might include Hairy Biker Man’s dog  Arturo, but he was nowhere to be seen. Although today there were quite a few of what I call the cosmetic camminatore – the fully made up ladies who go for a walk, to get exercise but never actually break a sweat. Wearing glamorous shorts, teeny tiny tee shirts and always blinged up trainers, I always have a pang of envy -after this challenge is done, I am determined just once to look like them, although I accept age and cellulite may spoil the illusion.

On my final part of WOTW lane, I saw a host of butterflies in the hedgerow – does a host count as a beast? Maybe not JCR, you can’t always fix your runs to get exactly the result you want.

I stopped the app when I’d completed just over 12km, and made my way home, to be greeted at the front door, by a rather shy lizard. That’s my Le Marche Big 4 done. I don’t know which animal will make up the 5, but that’s probably going to happen on another run.


Map My Run integration with iTunes didn’t work, so no record this time.


Distance 12.12km

Time 1:21:39

Average Pace 6:44

Elevation Gain 118 metres but the GPRS was all over the place so I am not sure this is correct at all.

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1377.46

Kms To Do 640.54

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