London Life
2020-09-26 19:33:42 (UTC)

The race for the last bus connection.

CATCH-UP Part 3 – Sunday 20th September 2020
I managed rather less than seven hours sleep, as I had to be up at 06:45 to do my 10km. I left a bit later than yesterday, and in the light I recognised the bits we’d cycled through in the pitch black the previous night, which we’d done before but didn’t realise, in the dark. I again went through the wood path to the venue, which nicely left me enough time to leave my bike (unlocked) behind the medical tent, warm up and go to the Ladies before I went through to the distanced race queue. I had to carry the hotel front door key at the race, as I had to lock it on my way out.

The race was along a great course of wooded paths, green lanes alongside fields, and hilly scenery, only gently undulating, along public paths but all part of Lord Shaftesbury's estate. No roads apart from a brief, quiet lane. My watch was out of battery (I hadn't taken the charge lead away with me) so I felt under no pressure to do a good time, especially as it was a trail and I had the bad ankle, though I would have liked to stayed under an hour (I did 1:02:04, against a PB of maybe 47:59).

I was back just in time for breakfast, and after a quick change, shower and pack, we left our bags at the hotel to retrieve later and set off for Shaftesbury. Jack had been quite evasive when I’d asked how long it would take to get there, and what time our bus was to Bournemouth. His answer was “you don’t want to go…?”. Eventually he said it would take an hour and a half to cycle to Shaftesbury, when in fact it took about two and a half, going via the beautiful village of Farnham, and Cann Common. There were some great views however, and at one time we were cycling along a ridge with hills and patchwork fields filling our entire right view-point (with fields to our left).

Shaftesbury was a small, pretty town, with no cars running through the high street. We had a coffee at their local shop , then quickly explored the town centre before heading for its most famous attraction, Gold Hill, a ridiculously steep, cobbled street which somehow has houses built on it, each one at a lower level from the next. From the top, as the houses drop away, you can see a fantastic hillside view beyond. It’s famous for an evocative Ridley Scott television advert for Hovis, once voted the best TV commercial ever.

We walked down the hill and up through a park, and had a quick look in the Abbey, where we patronised their food and drink shop, but it was now half past two and we had to get our bus at 17:22, the last one which would connect with our train home.. We managed to cycle back a lot more quickly than on the way, partly because we were in a hurry and partly because it was mainly downhill. We had time to divert through quiet Gussage All Saints, and nearly took the same left turn which we’d taken by accident the previous night – because I’d put Knowlton into the search rather than Horton In - but we went back down a hill to correct herself and were surprised how quickly we got back to the hotel to get our bags. It was a good thing we returned, as I’d taken the door key with me.

As it was so hot and sunny, Jack needed a pint of cola and I had a pint of water, and we then had to hurry to cycle to Wimborne Minster and get the bus, which we made with about twenty minutes to spare. Again, the girls of Wimborne Minster didn't let me down - I only saw four, but one wore a micro-skirt, wide fishnets and over-knee socks, another's shorts were revealing part of her bottom and another had a very short flouncy skirt which looked set to blow up in the breeze. I kept watching and indeed the skirt briefly flapped right up, to reveal semi-thong knickers, shiny white with the top half of her sweet young bum entirely covered, and the lower half fully entirely on show.

It was a much nicer driver this time and we got straight to Bournemouth station. I needed to buy two expensive £2 drinks from the machine and ration them through the journey, which took nearly three hours as the train was diverted via Havant and Guildford. Everyone on the train wore masks, but it was much too full – if it was LNER they wouldn’t have allowed that many people on it during the pandemic.

CURRENT – 25th/26th September 2020
Yesterday was my last at work before another week off, and as usual in that situation, I thought everything was in good shape – with the applications and showing two people how to mail-merge - but got an unexpected request from my boss to report for the monthly meeting. I’d decided not to go to help at Glasshouse in the evening, as I really didn’t feel I’d got the energy, still carrying a bug. So I had time to work on a section 4 and the Top 100. At lunchtime I got a new tyre and tube fitted for my large bike, and we got lunch at Wasabi, which finally re-opened recently.

In the evening we visited a supermarket (Waitrose) for the first time for weeks, and spent £61. If we’re not going to order Allplants meals any more, I need to go back to doing the home cooking which I’ve largely abandoned since the lockdown, so I stocked up on ingredients, but still need to get a lot of stuff from the greengrocer. I took some NightNurse and got eight hours sleep, after only four and a bit hours on Thursday.
This morning I was supposed to be helping CA at a food bank, at the Rainbow, which I haven’t been inside since I was about 20.

On the way I still felt weak from my illness and wondered whether I’d be strong enough for two hours work, but as it happened, there was some kind of mix-up and they didn’t want us. This was a particular shame for a new girl I’d been talking to, from Chalk Farm. She said it was one of the tasks closest to her, but I told her to check Camden and Islington boroughs as there are several within that kind of distance.

Instead, I went with Simon and two other lads to Blighty, a lovely downmarket café with three floors and a nice garden. They did a full vegan breakfast but I’d already had Jack’s bread and beans as well as some porridge, and the others were only having cake or a bun, so I just had some vegan lemon cake, which looked like bread but was sweet and tasty. Apparently it got invaded once by a protest group for being jingoistic, but it isn’t really, it’s just a theme, to cover its walls with British characters – James Bond, Mo Farrah, Freddie Mercury, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell’s 1984 and others.

I was in good chatty form despite the lack of other girls, and after a quick walk round the park I went to the fitness session. I joined in the warm-up but when I started to run my ankle felt weak – I wasn’t intending to take part, I hadn’t got my ankle support or running shoes, and when I jogged to the Ladies I remembered I’m still ill as well. It was good to see Sam and Anthony, and then Patrick, who lives nearby, turned up just after we’d finished.

At home I listened to the Palace v Everton commentary. There was a VAR penalty awarded some time after the incident, which the commentators disagreed with, which reminded me that some people tried to tell me years ago that video evidence would end that kind of dispute. And the play was pulled back after a minute or so, which reminded me of another reason I don’t want to go back to watching Premier League matches. The commentators said the controversy distracted from a good match, but it was them that were talking about it.

My Flickr account has been closed without them notifying me – it was a correspondent who informed me, someone who I’ve given my email address. It’s surely a mistake – my posts may be close to pornographic but other people put much more graphic stuff on there, and they surely would have emailed me to say so. But without those pictures, I spent sometime searching for new ones (and some of the same ones), which does take a lot more time. I also had some ideas for my next article and did a bit of research.