Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Running in the rain. Taking the blame. Hiking up mountains in the snow. School trips abroad.

It’s that dead time of year when the days have not started getting noticeably longer despite the shortest day having already been and gone.  It’s dull and damp, which doesn’t help. My milkman ‘fessed up to being responsible for today’s wet weather. I saw him while I was out running in the drizzle earlier this morning. We commented on the nasty weather, as you do, and he told me that at six o’ clock this morning he had commented on what a good day it was - not too cold, quite mild in fact, and dry! Five minutes later the drizzly rain started. I think it’s been going on ever since. We agreed he must have put a hex on the weather.

If I’d realised that today’s drizzle was of the very wetting variety (there are probably as many different types of rain and drizzle as there are supposed to be different types of snow) I would have put on a better rain jacket. As it was, I wore my thin running jacket, supposedly waterproof but really only able to cope with the finest of drizzle. By the time I got back home, the drizzle had permeated everything. The running gear went straight in the washing machine and I went straight in the shower. Surprisingly, though, my running shoes were only moderately wet. The path through the wooded valley bottom is full of muddy puddles but I had succeeded in circumventing most of them. No mean feat!

Who knows if it will improve as the day goes on!

Some people think I am more than a little crazy to go running in the cold and damp but there are crazier people than me. Here’s a tale of a couple who went walking in the Andes. They had decided to climb Mount Aconcagua. At 6,962 metres (almost 23,000ft), this is the highest peak in the Andes (and the western hemisphere). Having sent their guide ahead with most of their supplies, their warmest clothing and essentials such as loo roll, they planned to meet up with him some time later in the day but got caught in a blizzard and ended up spending several days snowed in - minimum food, just the clothes they stood up in, and no loo roll! 

I like running and will walk for miles and miles without complaining but climbing up mountains and risking being snowed in half way up is not my idea of fun. Why do people put themselves in dangerous situations? What do they need to prove? 

In my years as a teacher of French and Spanish I organised a fair few trips to foreign places with my students. We also welcomed groups from those foreign places to spend time here; it was a reciprocal arrangement. Now I read that Brexit is putting a stop to that. School groups from the EU that might have come to the UK are going to other EU countries instead. 

Post-Brexit immigration rules in the UK have had a huge impact on school trips bookings from EU countries, whilst many European countries are now in higher demand than Britain, organisers have said. Those who want to plan trips that give their students the chance to practise their English and experience the English way of life are choosing to go to Ireland instead. Some are even organising for their students to stay with English people living in Normandy!!

Of course the pandemic has also affected this type of travel but it’s mostly Brexit stuff that’s causing the problem. It will affect educational trips in the other direction as well. You can’t organise exchange visits if they’re not reciprocal. And I read this morning that at the end of 2022 it’s going to be necessary for us to pay an entry fee of around £7 per person to get into EU countries from here. Another Brexit benefit!

I am once again glad to be retired!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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