It’s Tuesday and I am up before 8am, mainly because Mr JCR nagged me a lot (on my behest I must add), I am also out of the door just after 8am and it’s 27 degrees. In 2018 we had Lucifer’s summer and I think he’s coming back. I add a dash of ‘pootler’s pink’ lipstick to get me on my way and I’m ready for whatever Lucifer decides to throw at me.
First off, Mill Lane, it’s now one way and so pitted and potholey that most locals don’t use it, so I usually have the lane to myself. But not today – two cars passed me, that almost constitutes a traffic jam in these parts. On my way to Lovers’ Lane and all is empty – no Anouska, no Albino save for one car on its way to Villa Bali. I even manage to get past the barking beagle house twice without so much as a murmur. It feels surreally quiet as though Le Marche has been emptied.
I return down Mill Lane and spot a dog walker I recognise from a couple of years back, a middle aged man, with a Collie. Bald and with a white moustache – the man, not the dog, I notice he has thin wiry legs but calves like flat irons. Iron Man I think is his new name, he smiles and says buongiorno. It is nice being in Italy when people acknowledge you rather than London, where it’s a little more distant/aggressive.
Making my way down the Slope of Hope, I get goosed by the barking balcony house, ah things are getting more normal and I make my way towards the village and Laundry Lane. And there to my surprise I see Dame Duvet, rather surreally dressed for what is now 28/82 degrees. She is wearing a baseball cap, a cotton neckerchief, a tee shirt under a sweatshirt and long black tracksuit bottoms. She looks as cool as a cucumber, I on the other hand am wearing the minimum I can get away with, without offending common decency standards and am bright eyeball-scorching red. You wouldn’t actually believe we were in the same climate. The other thing is that she’s miles away from where I normally see her, so now I wonder if she’s real or a walking spectre. Because from knowing her usual roads, I think she’s walking at least 15 -20 kms in the morning. Wow.
We exchange ciaos – and I bite my tongue wanting to ask for more information… and continue onto Laundry Lane, there’s a little more shade than usual and I continue my run until I hit the unshaded incline where I decide to finish.
Walking back up Argo’s Loop, I pass my ultimate barking nemesis. There are two horrid little dogs really quite aggressive and they live outdoors. As you can see from my first picture there is a mini enclosure. This is where they run and scramble up the fence to bark at me. Over the years, their technique has been fine-tuned and they were getting perilously close to scaling their enclosure; I see the owner has added yet more height to their scrambling wall, I fear it’s just given them more incentive to frighten me even more.
I make my way to the final ascent on Argo’s Loop and there I pass Iron Man once more, he pulls his dog to heel, smiles and we re-buongiorno. Turning the corner I see a sun hazed vision all in black. I squint thinking I recognise our friend Claudia, but she never, ever walks up our hill as it’s brutal. She crosses to the other side of the road, I say ciao and she recognises me at last. We elbow bump which is the new greeting standard and she tells me she is going for a walk. Now I am in utter shock, I’ve only ever seen her in her car this far up and her route means she has more inclines to do. Serious respect to her as I am two minutes from home and at her pace I reckon she has another hour to get home, including some horrid hilly bits.
I walk into the house, and see myself in the mirror – no wonder Claudia didn’t recognise me, the pootler’s pink has slid away from my mouth and I look a little like Robert Smith from The Cure, or one of Dali’s Melting Clocks. A surreal morning’s run, and a very surreal face…
4.4 km – slowly doing a bit more distance
Time – yup it took me time
Physio – some of it
Jump Rope – maximum 23 skips and at least 10 whipped arse moments
Best Track – Dizzy by Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff, as that was the final track on Argo’s loop and I was definitely feeling dizzy with heat at that time