Hats off to the Council

Occasionally, just occasionally, one has to ask the question: WHY?  On a beautiful, leafy junction of three paths near to Ditchling Common, the Council has gone to the effort of installing a steel signpost clarifying that each of the paths is a Public Bridleway.  No other information is proffered and I am bewildered as to whom this sign has been erected for. 

Clearly not the locals who enjoy the route to get away from signs of the nearby urban area.  Nor anyone with a map.  Of other possible folk who need to know that these paths are bridleways, anyone reliant on signage would get into trouble a couple of minutes later where the path splits again without the benefit of a sign.  If there is a rational reason for this particular sign, I would really like to hear it:  if it’s a good one, I will happily eat humble pie.

This morning was grey, but the sun snuck a peek under the clouds for a while and filtered gently through the trees.  Nick is currently under the weather (I wonder if he’s been snogging a recuperating Cliff) so I decided to make a run for it on my own.

I went out past the post above, keeping to the bridleway until I turned off onto a path marked with a more subtle device.  This was clearly not a bridle-path as I had to clamber over a stile… I’m sure that my keen observational skills are a benefit of having been a Boy Scout in my youth.

This mere footpath was not so much to my liking as the stinging nettles were waist high and I was wearing my shorts.  Still, I thought as a plunged on through them, at least it’ll keep my hay-fever at bay!

I passed the beautiful old church behind the Royal Oak,  crossed into Hundred Acre Wood, went up through the new wood that the Best Brothers are growing (they use simple, home-made footpath signs here for their twisty, fast-narrowing paths) and came out onto Hundred Acre Lane.

Further on I passed Lew’s place… if you read this Lew, MAN I love the contemporary structure in your garden.  The whole idea of placing a shed without a roof in the middle of a garage without a roof really appeals to my sense of artistic space! Tracey Eminen would be proud of you.

From there I ran along the magical path, passing the evolution of the once peaceful St Georges Hall into what I can only imagine will be a metropolis for the silver-haired.

As I finally beat a path home, so I had a hair-raising moment… my hat was quite literally lifted, rather gently actually, from my head.  It took a few moments to register before I turned and reached for the camera. 

Strangely, having taken the photo, I almost ran off without it!

The distance is still to be calculated (no fancy wizardry on my wrist) but the time was one hour and two minutes and despite not having run for a week, I feel pretty good, thank you very much for asking!

Next project please!

Summer gave us a really warm goodbye last weekend and I was determined to make the most of the fine weather by finishing the teahouse.  On went the sliding door that Kim had specified and up went the edging boards.  There are still a couple of internal tasks to do, but that’ll give me something to do while I ponder the next project.

There was just about enough time on Sunday to transfer my gardening junk from the garage to the teahouse and then tidy the garage ready to take my car back in time for autumn.  Kim’s car even got henry’d and washed, but the strength in my arms gave out before I had a chance to do mine!

I would like to thank all the folk who gave help and advice, but especially Andrew from Transformations who helped me make sense of my own design and understand what woodworking joints to use, Cliff who suggested less expensive solutions for my various crazy ideas, Nathan & his team from Upstairs Downstairs who kindly treated me as if I knew what I was doing and Kim for her invaluable design inputs.  And endless cups of tea!

taa-daa!  Cup of tea anyone? 
Taa-daa!  Cup of tea, anyone?

Autumn drawers on

May I be the first to wish you all a very Happy Autumn!  It started at 11.44 EDT (blog time), which I’m guessing is 4.44pm BST for those of you in Blighty.

Apparently, since it is the Autumn Equinox, the sun rose directly in the East this morning and will set directly in the West.

Those of you looking for more information on this subject (and much, much more!) might want to look at http://aa.usno.navy.mil/

Quick run

Nick & I had a meeting scheduled for 9am this morning and he suggested that we squeeze a quick run in first.  Twenty minutes into the run, he pointed out that he hadn’t meant quite this quick.  For some reason I was flying along.  So much so that at the turning point we had covered 3 miles in 24 minutes.  7.5mph.

We then ran the return leg at his pace, covering 1.9 miles in 15 minutes.  7.6mph.

Along the way, we chatted a lot, which puts paid to the theory about gassing slowing your running.  

Nick had also, well, er, let’s just say that he’d eaten a curry the night before.  Which puts paid to the theory about gassing slowing your… oh, I seem to have said that already.

Amazingly, we found time not only to notice the charms of the magical path and the beauty of Ditchling Common, but also to philosophise about the fact that people who live here see this countryside often, but seldom actually really appreciate it.  

Even running, the tendency is to be watching the ground in front of your feet, rather than appreciating the richness of the scenery in front of your nose.  

Especially if Nick is up front after a curry night.

Almost teatime

You may struggle to see what I did today, since this photo was taken after I’d spent yesterday working on it, but the tea-house is slowly progressing.  And no, Cliff, I didn’t shun my run in favour of sitting around doing nought, despite the glorious weather!

Wednesday passed

Phew… what a manic week!  I’m really glad it’s the weekend!  Ah yes (at 9.30pm Sunday) was the weekend!

It’s rare that the comment precedes the post, but Nick managed to beat me by four days this time and since my memory fades after about five minutes, you’ve little hope of hearing very much more about Wednesday.

We ran pretty much the same route as the last two runs except for a small additional loop which made the mileage, courtesy of Nicks satellitical device, 7.09 miles.  This was run largely in amiable conversation, except where he called me a wuss for wanting to keep my feet dry… and I reciprocated for the same reason later on.

So, how long did it take us? 63 minutes… which is not bad for a conversational trot.  Of course the Bok actually got back 30 seconds ahead of me, demonstrating that he’s still the little league champ!

Replay, speeded up

After attending Clive and Nat’s EXCELLENT party on Saturday night (the new extension is a real triumph guys!) I had only a brief window of running time yesterday morning.  Cliff and I had discussed running together, but since he had wimped out of the party on account of having the sniffles (I think that he agreed he was a WUSS, although the rest of us are probably grateful that he didn’t share them with us!), I guessed he’d probably not be up to it.

More through being too lazy to devise another route than any desire to compare times (no, really!), I followed the same route that Dai, Daren & I ran last week.

It had been raining for most of the preceding 24 hours so I guessed it would be muddy, hence decided to wear the orange shoes, but I actually managed to find very little beyond surface mud… the MUD season has clearly not yet started in earnest!  The shoes however, are great… go see Kurt at Run in Hove if you want to be prescribed something similar!

There are a few wooden bridges and stiles en-route and these were perilously slippery, but my ice-driving experience got me through!

Let’s cut to the chase, so to speak.  The time last week (clearly hampered by a self-confessed Division 2 girl guide) was 75 minutes.  My unstressed time for the 7 mile route yesterday was, er um, 62 minutes!

Which brings me to a question regarding Daren’s fitness league.  How do we differentiate between the different players?  Daren might complain that he’s slow, but if cheerfulness is taken into consideration, he’s way up at the front.  Dai is clearly a contender too, as he can get up after months off and run that distance at that speed.  Cliff and Pete, both a lot older than me, could run at that speed even if you made them go around the circuit 10 and 15 times respectively.  Meanwhile Nick might only run it once, but it would be in about 14 minutes flat.

We clearly need a new differentiator.  I propose an annual timed route of about ten or twelve miles, with a handicap system based on the number of miles run by the individual in the previous 12 months… which gives Daren a fighting chance, with only a 65m superyacht to run around for months on end! 

To start the proposals coming in, may I put forward the route from my house to the Beacon and back, or alternatively Clayton Church to Blackcap & back.  What say ye?

Demolition in progress

The last time I ran with Dai it was chucking it down with rain, so it was rather appropriate that Daren, Dai and I should choose this morning to run since it was once again precipitating in-extremis.  In every other way though, it was a lovely day to go out running.  And a good day to take the orange shoes for a spin.

We headed out past Ote Hall, getting a cheery wave from the lady of the manor as she drove past, out past the pyjama-llamas (I know Debbs, they’re Packham’s Alpacas really) and down into Wivelsfield village.  Then up Hundred Acre Lane and down through the woods.  It was all so beautiful, despite the rain.

Once past the industrial estate (hey Lou, your garage is about the size of my house!) we ran down the magical path and then back across the common to home.

The orange shoes performed well by all accounts and the soles were strangely cleaner at the end, but much wetter!  There’s still little to beat running with friends (other than maybe eating breakfast with friends, or having a beer with friends).  And I found this lovely photo of Daren & Dai hanging over a five-bar gate when they were much smaller.

Seven miles took us one hour fifteen, which must be under 6mph, but only because we were gassing so much!

And finally, on all fours…

Forasmuch as, forbearance, forerunner, foresee, foresight, formative, forte, forthright, fortitude, fortissimo, forty, ah, close… all the fours, forty-four.  Bingo!  It really was that kind of day yesterday!  I guess I’ll have to be fortified next.