Monday, 11 November 2019

Running, community spirit, voting! And the menú del día!

My regular running route involves jogging about a mile up the road, annoyingly slightly uphill all the way, then a turn off to the left into a bit of a backroad, then across another fairly major road, down a bit of a country lane and eventually onto a bridle path which brings me out at the bottom of the village and finally, via a few more twists and turns of narrow lanes, back home.

Now, since we came home last week I have been missing out the bridle path bit, which I would really rather include as it gets me off the tarmac and away from traffic fumes. There has been so much rain and so much standing water around that I knew from experience that the bridle path was going to be a selection of muddy puddles with the strong possibility that parts of it would actually be under water.

It’s not that I really mind running in a bit of rain. It may not be my preferred running weather but it’s not too bad. However, I do object to having to paddle through inch-deep water. Running shoes are built for ventilation not for waterproofing and finishing off a run with squelching feet is decidedly not fun. And besides, you then have the problem of making sure your shoes have dried out ready for the next days run. So I have been running down the main road into the village, currently busier than it usually is as it is part of the diversion avoiding the roadworks outside out house. You really can’t win!

Anyway, as Friday and Saturday had seen rather less rain than had been falling when we arrived home on Thursday, and as Sunday was actually a much better day weatherwise, with even a fair bit of blue sky and sunshine, I decided to do a but of reconnaissance on Sunday afternoon, with a view to running there today. (I had run in the morning, omitting the bridle path, as explained before.)

And there were still mud puddles but much reduced, easy to stride over, with reasonably dry patches in between. What’s more, some of the dips and hollows where water collected on one section of the path, the result of serious flooding a few years ago, had been repaired. So all looked okay for a go-ahead today.

Of course, it then rained heavily overnight! Again! But in the spirit of “carry on regardless” I ran my traditional route this morning. The mud puddles had grown somewhat and the path was generally squelchy - it’s amazing how much water fallen leaves can hold!! - but it was all passable and my feet stayed dry. Not only that but the rain held off for the duration of my run. Hooray!

A little bit of serendipity now. At least a couple of years ago someone who was in a team of workmen doing some roadworks outside our house (yes, we suffer a lot from roadworks for one reason or another) noticed my running habit and suggested that I get involved in Parkrun, an organised mass run for people of all kinds of running strengths in local parks on Saturday mornings. He thought I would enjoy it. A good idea. My problem was that I would need to get to the nearest venue on public transport. Even then, it was not so much the getting there as the getting back, also on public transport, all hot and sweaty, or rain-soaked and mud-splattered.

Yesterday on my reconnaissance I got into conversation with a lady walking her dog. I explained about the running route. She also suggested Parkrun. Once more I explained about the transport issue, having no car and so on. She has done the local Parkrun in the past and plans to get back into it when she has got over her current cough and cold. She used to live across the road from us, it turned out, and now lives in nearby Dobcross. So could pick me up en route if she was going to take part in Parkrun. So we swapped phone numbers and may, or may not, go and run round the park together some time in the near future.

That’s community spirit for you!

Less community-spirited is a report about the artist Manet. Apparently he embellished letters he wrote with doodles and now someone is criticising him because evidence has been found suggesting that he traced these doodle from others that he had made in his sketchbook. That’s HIS OWN SKETCHBOOK, not somebody else’s. The whole thing smacks of sour grapes if you ask me.

I see that elections in Spain have not resulted in an outright majority for the Socialist party, even though they have won seats than anyone else. The right wing Vox party has done frighteningly well, which is worrying. Spain looks as though it will continue with turbulent times.

 Meanwhile Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young would like to have dual citizenship of the USA and Canada. He lives in the USA, pays taxes in the USA, his children are American, but he can’t vote there, which he would like to do. Mainly he would like to vote against Donald Trump. He has passed the citizenship test but there is a hold-up because of his self-confessed use of marijuana. It seems that Trump would like to legalise marijuana. I find this quite ironic. Good luck to Mr Young, say I!

And finally here’s an article about Spanish lunch breaks and the menú del día.  We really appreciate the menú del día tradition, as we do the serving of free tapas with an evening drink in many places in Galicia. The article refers mostly to Madrid and Barcelona and so we hope the menú del día will continue to thrive in Galicia. We shall see!

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