Cotswold Life

Je suis un joggeur

‘Would I carry on with my rou­tine when re­lax­ing away from home? Would I be mo­ti­vated enough?’

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The mo­ment we ex­ited the Euro­tun­nel and were on French soil was quite a spe­cial one. It felt like we’d come up for breath for the first time in six months. An un­for­tu­nate choice of words given the Covid-19 sit­u­a­tion, but it re­ally did feel like that. Hav­ing been in lock­down for so long, our world had shrunk to an unimag­in­ably small size. Hav­ing spo­ken to no­body but my fam­ily and my two dogs since when­ever, it was ex­hil­a­rat­ing to have the whole of Europe at our feet. The sun was shin­ing and life was good.

We roared on down through France, stop­ping in Di­jon for the night. I’m a mas­sive mus­tard freak and get a kick out of the fact that Di­jon mus­tard is just known as mus­tard there. Ac­tu­ally it’s “moutarde” and it was just a con­ve­nient half­way point.

The French were strict with their Covid reg­u­la­tions. You had to wear a mask pretty much any­time you were in­doors in a pub­lic place. The great thing about France in the sum­mer, how­ever, is that no­body ever does any­thing in­doors ex­cept sleep.

So, we ar­rived in the South of France and life felt strangely nor­mal. Sure, oc­ca­sion­ally you’d no­tice the masks and the pre­pon­der­ance of hand sani­tiser ev­ery­where but, for the most part, we could float along in a bliss­ful, prelap­sar­ian state of af­fairs.

Apart from the run­ning that is. Oh, did I not men­tion that I was a run­ner now? I’m sure I did a cou­ple of months back but I don’t like to go on about it too much. It’s just no big deal. I do five kilo­me­tres pretty much ev­ery morn­ing and that’s just a pri­vate thing I do. Sure, I might post the odd breathless In­sta story about it, but no more than once or twice a day. The Strava maps I post daily with a ba­sic break­down of some of my splits and stats? I just thought it might be of in­ter­est to other run­ners or peo­ple think­ing about run­ning… or peo­ple who don’t run at all to see what it’s all about.

Any­how, in France, I was not a run­ner. I was a “joggeur” and this was go­ing to be my big test. Would I carry on with my rou­tine when re­lax­ing away from home? Would I be mo­ti­vated enough? On the first morn­ing I awoke at about eight-thirty and got into my run­ning clob­ber. I was in­cred­i­bly im­pressed with my­self. I had changed. I was now pretty much a pro­fes­sional ath­lete. Run­ning was in my blood. A sum­mer break was just a trip to a train­ing camp for me.

I necked a glass of jus d’orange, nib­bled on a ba­nane and headed off round the back of the house to get on to a pine tree-lined lane that I used to cy­cle down as a kid, in the days when I wasn’t a run­ner (like I am now – did I men­tion it?).

A ca­coph­ony of ci­cadas cheered me on as I started to run. I passed the oc­ca­sional house sur­rounded by olive groves. I was in heaven. I was run­ning through heaven. I felt good… for about five min­utes. Then the heat kicked in. It was al­ready about 30 de­grees centi­grade and the hu­mid­ity lev­els were in­sane. My watch started get­ting wor­ried.

“You’re well be­low nor­mal pace,” it said, ac­cus­ingly.

Two min­utes later it beeped me again.

“What are you do­ing. I’ve logged faster hip­pos than you? Get a grip, tubs! Speed up.”

It might not have ac­tu­ally said that ver­ba­tim but I was hav­ing dif­fi­culty putting one foot in front of the other as the heat had sapped all en­ergy from my body. I was like a dy­ing iphone on 1% bat­tery that sud­denly flashes that mes­sage telling you that it needs to cool down be­fore you can use it. I had be­come a mas­sive, over­heated iphone, and my screen was cracked.

I stopped dead in my tracks. I’d run about a kilo­me­tre and I was fin­ished. I slowly turned around and trudged in­cred­i­bly slowly back to­wards the house. I now un­der­stood the rules. France was for re­lax­ing and Eng­land is for run­ning. Je suis un id­iot.n

When and why did you move to Swin­don, An­gela?

I moved to Swin­don in 1992 from a vil­lage near Work­sop, Notts. Twenty-six years now. But I only started to prop­erly ‘no­tice’ Swin­don and to en­gage with it about 10 years ago.

I left be­hind slag heaps, sta­tion­ary pit wind­ing wheels, mass un­em­ploy­ment and em­phy­sema. Work­sop be­came the heroin cap­i­tal of Europe. I saw Swin­don as the land of milk and honey – in ev­ery sense. And it still is. Hence I couldn’t then – and still can’t – un­der­stand the neg­a­tiv­ity about the town.

Show me the per­fect ur­ban conur­ba­tion. Oh wait – there isn’t one.

SEPTEM­BER 12-13, 10AM-4PM Get your plant fix at this au­tumn plants sale, with a great se­lec­tion on of­fer from the UK’S best nurs­eries and spe­cial­ist grow­ers, plus nu­mer­ous gar­den­ing, crafts and food trade stands. Tick­ets are lim­ited so book­ing on­line in ad­vance is rec­om­mended. Three Coun­ties Show­ground, Malvern, WR13 6NW, three­coun­ties.co.uk

‘Lo­cal pigs en­joy But­combe lock­down sur­plus beer.’ But­combe Brew­ing Co has been tak­ing over 108,000 pints of its un­used beer, mix­ing it with other brew­ing by-prod­ucts, so mak­ing a nu­tri­tious an­i­mal feed for lo­cal pigs. Now, those are some happy pigs.

‘It was def­i­nitely a big cat. It was mas­sive, with a long tail. It wasn’t a dog.’

Af­ter win­ning against South Cer­ney CC, Barns­ley Beeches CC man­ager Joshua Odom man­ages to video the beast slink­ing across fields just off the B4425 to­wards Cirences­ter. The video is quite sweary, so he seems con­vinc­ing - Glos Live

‘From the top of the tower you can see 16 dif­fer­ent coun­ties... but the rea­son for con­struct­ing it is a bit of a mys­tery... it was all down to one woman’s flight of fancy!’

El­lie Har­ri­son dis­cov­ers the ‘weird and won­der­ful’ side of the Cotswolds at Broad­way Tower on BBC 1’s Coun­try­file

‘The. Best. Writer. Of. All. Time... since Dick­ens.’ Cirences­ter’s Daisy May Cooper shows her ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the works of Stephen King while watch­ing hor­ror flick

IT Chap­ter 2 with dad Paul on Chan­nel 4’s Gog­gle­box.

Ev­ery month, Adam Jacot de Boinod poses a quiz from the won­der­ful vo­cab­u­larly of our Cotswold di­alect. Can you guess the cor­rect def­i­ni­tion from the fol­low­ing three op­tions for: 1) charm

A) a noise

B) a song sung in turn by the guests at a ban­quet C) the sec­ond swarm of bees in the same sea­son 2) flirter

A) one who haunts good ta­bles, a greedy sponger B) to flick a play­ing mar­ble with fin­ger and thumb C) a cat­a­pult made from elas­tic bands 3) bray

A) to sing in the streets B) to boast; to brag about C) hay spread out to dry in long par­al­lels 4) frow­sty

A) di­shev­elled B) ir­ri­tated C) frosty

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