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