Shirking, Shimmying, Sliding and Shade – 21 October

One of the joys of living in Italy is the impromptu nature of your social life. Whilst one of the downsides is not being fluent in the native language meaning you occasionally end up doing something that you hadn’t quite expected or prepared for.

So it turned out last night at a friend’s birthday. There was to be some sort of informal gathering outside their shop and Mr JCR thought their usual outdoor marquee may be involved. There was a birthday party and it was in their shop (no marquee), and the evening was somewhat surreal  as we saw a handmade polenta and fish ragu volcano being set alight.

I have been to all sorts of events in my life, but the lighting of a polenta and ragu volcano is a first. This is where it got awks (my new found social media language dictionary tells me means awkward). There are many many things in Italy we love, food, culture. people, climate etc etc etc., however polenta isn’t on that list. But we are in Le Marche, it is Autumn and polenta comes into its own at this time of year, there are polenta feasts and fairs all over the Region celebrating the gloop. We have over the years tried runny gloop, cheesy gloop, cheesy oven baked gloop, griddled gloop, oniony gloop, garlicky gloop, white gloop, yellow gloop, and ‘even if you don’t like polenta, you’ll love mine’ gloop. In fairness you can’t say we haven’t tried, but love of the gloop evades us.

The polenta and ragu volcano was duly set alight and the shop lights dimmed to many oohs and aahs from the assembled audience. And then came the doling out of the gloop. We tried to keep our plates full of other food, but it was noticed that we had not got our portion. Being British and polite we took a sample, as it would have been rude and frankly impossible to have not had any. We didn’t shirk our responsibility or manners, although we did try sliding the gloop around the plate so it looked as though we’d eaten quite a bit.

This morning the alarm went, my stomach felt a bit gloopy, but that was probably more the Aperol Spritz and prosecco consumed, rather than the polenta. I had decided to see if I could run for about 6 or 7km and not push it, given recent twinges and time spent on the injury couch.   My usual warm up walk towards the Hill that Kills and my run started, a very quick shimmy was necessary in the first seconds as an oncoming car decided to take the bend tightly and would have hit me, had I not heard him approaching. Onwards and plodwards up the hill, a car approaches from behind and toots, it is a friend Lucia, who says it’s nice to see me back from London – in truth I’m a bit miffed as at this stage I am still not running aerobically so the run is more of an upward stagger, I hardly look like a fit runner at all. Down Lovers’ Lane towards Villa Bali, a lady is training two collies on fetch and retrieve routines – unfortunately I am in the way on the retrieve run and one of the collies and I do an awkward shimmy around each other and continue.

There aren’t many people out and about at this time of year as it is slap bang in the middle of olive harvest time, so there are many tractors and nets and harvest crews working in the fields, to get the precious cargo in and pressed on time. I had quite fortuitively timed my visit to London to coincide with our own olive harvest. I slid off without a backward glance, leaving Mr JCR to organise the logistics and I came home to 70+ litres of green-gold. Dodging my way around the tractors and trucks, I take Laundry Lane which is a long mainly down hill route to give me a nice run. Being Autumn the oaks are shedding all their acorns and it is a running hazard as you will either be hit on the head or you have to keep looking at the ground to avoid slipping. Given two recent incidents of Stupid Tart Syndrome, I don’t want to slip and fall on acorns so I take my time. I give myself a target milestone to complete which is  to do 7km or Prune Way, but 7km is my minimum. Prune Way is in view and the turn off is actually at 6.9km, so I continue a little further and then start running up Prune Way. This is a short sharp ascent and frankly my legs aren’t up to it, so I walk and jog to the most apt tune – Culture Club and ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ – but mainly walk to finish. It’s about 650 metres with 50 metre gradient, so quite tough to do at the end of a run. On my way up I hear more olive harvesting going on and I spy a gorgeous old cinquecento shading under the trees, a pretty car on a pretty day.

Pics show, Prune Way, the cinquecento and Mr JCR’s endeavours whilst I shirked my harvesting duties, shimmied around London, slid back into my running routine and finally shaded my very red face as Salsa Red.


(This is from memory as Map My Run doesnt synch with Spotify library)

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Cars – Gary Numan

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Shout – Tears For Fears

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

Doctor, Doctor – ditto

Visage – Visage

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty


Distance 7.65km (I reckon 7.1km of true running)

Time 56.15

Average Pace 7.21 (much worse than London – I blame heat and slopes)

Best Km 6.31

Elevation Gain  76 metres

Squats 3 x 15 sets of reps done.

A Deck of Ginger Ale Facelift -15 October

Decker, LardofAle, and Ginger Bohemian came up with another great list of songs for me to consider, so the new Retro Runners playlist was called ‘Deck of Ginger Ale’ in their honour.

The first 4 songs to go on it were:-

Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty – – Thanks to Antet

I Ran – Flock of Seagulls – Thanks to Razouski

Talk Talk – Talk Talk – Thanks to Lardofale

Tainted Love – Soft Cell – Thanks to me

Further suggestions have come in, so there’s a few more to add from:-

Razouski – Our Retro leader

Ginger Bohemian – a 70s glam rock man in hiding

Polly 2810 – Sky Diving Music Lover

CT 2017 – breaking strides into music playlists

Antet – the perfect song for the perfect moment person

MrsT82 – all round super woman born when Culture Club were at Number 1..

Lard of Ale – a man whose record collection I want to steal

Decker – a Canadian with a Brit vibe

New Songs this week are:-

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Everybody Wants to Rule The World – Tears for Fears

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

Doctor, Doctor – Thompson Twins

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Fade to Grey – Visage

Visage – Visage

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Cars – Gary Numan

Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Retro Running Taking Me Forward – 5 Oct

After having created the retro runners’ playlist in honour of fellow runner Razouski, who is feeling a bit poorly with her hearing, and giving her big respect as she once sang backing vocals for Marc Almond, I decided today I would run to it and have a 1980s experience.

Out onto Slope of Hope for my warmup walk, past the barking balcony house, which is getting a new lick of paint on it’s garden paving to the sound of Madness and Our House. I nod to the owner and start my run up the Hill that Kills, and past the two ladies having a walk again, this time they don’t see me and I continue to Lovers’ Lane and loop back this time towards Mill Lane. My running feels a bit slow and jerky today, to be honest a bit like 80s dancing. Back down the Slope of Hope, the guy is still painting and I have a feeling my running is actually slower than him painting, back to the usual Lovers’ Lane loop and I move towards the Slope of Hope once more down towards to the Bendy Scary Road.Today’s challenge was to do 8km, as I didn’t quite manage it on Sunday I was about 200m short and Tuesday I just wasn’t feeling the love.

Running along having been passed by a molto chic ciclista – yes she was wearing make-up and yes she managed to look glamorous in a cycling helmet… How the hell can that be? Are Italian women born with lustrous eyelashes, pre-mascara’d and eyelinered? Why does their make-up not slide off their faces?

She was actually very nice and waved and said Buongiorno – I was somewhat distracted and realised if I didn’t re-think my run, I’d have to do the horrors of Cavendish Hill

A little loop back on the Bendy Scary Road ensured I’d be okay and not have to do the hill. At that point Eminem’s Lose Yourself came on, which was a good thing, as it spurred me onto run just that bit faster, and I think I did my quickest km at that point. (Let’s be honest watching paint dry is generally quicker than my ‘fastest km’)

So nicely finished my 8km more or less at the bottom of Cavendish Hill, and the retro runners’ playlist did me proud. Totally channelling my inner 80s, I am wondering whether big hair will ever come back into fashion, as mine is a little awry with being a little warm and soggy…


Our House – Madness

Beat It – Michael Jackson

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

All Stood Still – Ultravox

People are People – Depeche Mode

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

Thriller – Michael Jackson

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw (again!)

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Rio – Duran Duran

Rasputin – Boney M

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode


Distance 8.29km

Time 1.01.18

Average Pace 7.23 (min/km)

Elevation Gain 67 Metres

Fastest Km – 7.01 (thanks Eminem and Antet)



3 sets of 15 reps done