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As he turned the corner to push up the hill at the start of his run his left eye began to sting. "Damned sun cream" he muttered as he staggered on with one eye closed slowly rubbing around the area trying to ease whatever was the cause away and not antagonise his eye. The awkwardness dogged him for almost two miles during which time he giggled to himself off and on as he imagined the pirate he had become; he needed a patch for his eye, a hook for the hand making no progress in soothing his eye, a crutch for his dodgy left side wooden stump of a leg.
As he rattled down the steep hill to the estuary he assured the cyclists climbing in the opposite direction that he would be running back up the hill later, none of them believed him. The sun shone brightly as he relaxed into mile two. A train rocked along the tracks beneath the road and for a moment he wished he was riding away with it from his current life to something more. The broad V of geese squawking and gliding effortlessly above snapped him back to reality as he swooped around the bend at the base of the hill keeping up pace and showing good form as he cruised past the usual conflagration of parked cars along the waterfront.
The occupants all with different agendas in the crisp afternoon; binoculars out for the birds; bikes out for the fitness, sandwiches out for the lunch, boots out for the walks; tongues out for the kissing. He sped by them all and descended onto the causeway across the marshes. The wind became bitter reminding him that it was still winter as he surveyed the river estuary and the lovely views across to Wales. As he crested the rise leading to the boardwalk the red flag warned of army rifle range practice in progress. The sentinel box was manned to prevent anyone accidentally accessing the range.
The wood of the boardwalk was wonderfully bouncy as ever, always a delight to scamper across giving a resilient boost to every step. Traffic noises phased in and out as he approached the edifice of the majestic suspension bridge. Dwarfed by it's colossal girth he scurried along the path like a little mouse weaving amongst it's foundations, an insignificant little creature in comparison to the behemoth of concrete and cables. Jettisoned into the industrial estate by the funnelling wind forced into blustery contortions by the vast structure he pranced onward into the beckoning aroma of freshly cooked biscuits issuing from the sprawling supermarket bakery factory. He weaved through the maze of articulated lorries queuing to load up with freshly baked breads and pies and savoury snacks. He wished he could stop and eat, and eat, and eat.
The hunger pangs faded away as once again the conundrum of the sprawling Toyota plant crept over the horizon. Its vast swathes of decommissioned brown ground slowly being colonised by bristling hordes of solar panels, so much energy generation but no sign of activity except for the darkened windows of the security Rav silently tracking him on the opposite side of the security fencing. It reminded him of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... Mmm chocolate!
As the Rav turned back unable to ghost him beyond the final perimeter the familiar pong of horses wafted across the path, there was always something different in the dirty grassless mire of overshadowed ground. Today a tiny Shetland pony struggled to stay healthy in the muddy triangle. The same grubby sign as usual hung at an angle warning "don't feed the animals", he wanted to feed and free this animal.
Onward past the ever evolving ground clearance, huge tracts of land being prepared for more industrial units. Earth gathered in embryonic pyramidal formations scoured from the now flat landscape beyond. Every once in a while cyclists would whistle by, riders crouching low in their saddles on track for a new route record.
The safe path abruptly ended issuing him onto the roadside pavement. Those articulated lorries laden with baked goods droning to market along roads he now needed to be aware of lest he join the hedgehogs and other innocent mammals they had crushed in their inexorable drive to supermarketdom. A mile of wariness brought him to the sanctuary of the narrow ginnel, freedom from heavy traffic, back into the sparsely populated industrial estate.
Favourite safe roads for learner drivers. Broad pavements divided into lanes for cyclists and walkers, flat easy running with regular mini hurdles of crossing roads and kerbs ultimately bringing him back to the solar arrays of Toyota Land and the reverse journey back home. Places quieter and desolate compared to his earlier transit. Biscuits all baked and shipped, only cold air to breathe along the empty roads, forceful winds to be battled against in conquering the base of the bridge and the Dee Estuary Path. Gunnery range now silent, no cars on the waterfront. The climb he committed to run back up taking a heavy toll on weary legs.
And finally back to the house that contained the rest of his peculiar existence...
Debra Bourne said:
JNR, sympathies, but glad you're making progress. Regarding transfer, have you let David Ross know? If you're not on the Comrades FB group I can post on there that I know someone with a place available, if you like.
In other news, I left the EU today even if the UK didn't. I actually voted remain, but the people have spoken and I am on board with the process unlike the politicians...
Good luck de-choking the engines in Croydon Debra.
And good luck to Max and Mc Hilly too on The Silkin Way!
I'm sure there is lots more drama to come yet Becca