Jack locks himself out. The Covid Memorial Wall.
Saturday 3rd April
Cycled along the canal to Victoria Park for a training session with Simon, Matthew, Aidan, Tracey, Claire, Phil N and Iman, who I chatted to as we walked over to the track. She is so bubbly, happy and engaging – she works as a trainee solicitor at Lincoln’s Inn but of course has been working from home and it’s been so busy lately she’s been working until 22:00. At least she got yesterday off. I overtook her in the 5km run, just when we were being lapped by the others, but she overtook me after about 4km though I didn’t mind because I’d actually got faster at that point. However my time of 26 minutes 50 seconds would have been my slowest-ever Park Run and two minutes slower than our time-trial on the same track last summer, despite the cold. The times for the 5km were Matt - 20 min 5 secs. Aidan - 20 min 8 secs. Phil - 20 min 15 secs. Iman - 26 min 23 secs. Lisa - 26 min 50 secs.
Jack texted to say that he’d locked himself out so I suggested he come and help with the task when he’s finished seeing his friend – or I might have time to come home in the 90 minutes between the time trial and the task.
It seemed at first that no-one was hanging around after the run, but I did go to the park cafe with Simon, Matthew and Tracey, three lovely people – with my mask that supposedly makes me look like a “ninja turtle”, which I got from the Co-op in an emergency.
I still had loads of time before my task, so I cycled the full circumference of Victoria Park, trying to learn it so I wouldn’t ever get lost there again. I think the small road running through the middle has confused me before, and the fact that we cross it to get to the running track, when I’m usually busy chatting.
I saw Ivo, who didn’t have time to chat as he was in the middle of a run and needed to get back to his kids. His CA T-shirt is very faded as he probably wears it every time he goes running.
I saw that the Hertford canal had been dredged but I couldn’t take a picture as my phone had got stuck – a process app wasn’t working but it wouldn’t close. So I also couldn’t photo the daffodils we planted off Old Ford Road, which have now bloomed. I got to the community centre early and decided I’d got time to again get an expresso from the van next to the Love Shack.
For once I didn’t pair off with Sree but did some weeding on my own. I was a bit worried about not being able to contact Jack but I was next to the road so he'd see me if he arrived. Eventually I borrowed the task owner's phone to see why he hadn't arrived. I did chat to Sree and quiet Heather (who’s name I can’t usually remember) and a bloke called Daniele who had a French accent and was helping with my weeding. Eventually I raked over the last few shoots.
Jack came to meet me – he’d been waiting in the nearby park so I showed him where we’d helped at the playground – and the logs which had given me a back strain). He wanted to go to a vegan “fish”and chip place in Brick Lane, but he couldn’t find it.
Instead we stumbled upon Ely’s Yard, full of food vans frequented by young people, including a girl in over-knee black shiny boots, bare legs and a short dress, with her friends (the other girl was wearing a much longer skirt). She looked great, I bet she felt great and I was jealous: I haven’t even worn my new thigh-boots outside yet.
We went home by Overground and had time to get a coffee from Ellie’s which we drank by the station.
I had a bath, reading Jeremy Vine’s autobiography – he actually liked Jeremy Paxman’s typically unhelpful Newsnight question “haven’t you got anything better to do with your time?” to someone trying to bring back feet-and-inches, and thinks the pointless “shouted question” is worthwhile. We then watched a rubbish episode of Comic Relief “Fish” in which a North American girl’s “fact” was actually a bit of parenting advice.
Sunday 4th April
Left about 09:30 for a 24km run, as advised by my ultra training plan. I was going to run down to the office, through and probably round the Royal Parks, back along the canal from Paddington then see how much I needed to run round Regent’s Park to make the distance. I ran over the river to see the Covid memorial wall which I read about yesterday, which will eventually consist of a red heart for each UK death (more than 150,000 so far). There are people there handing out red paint so you can paint your own as a tribute to your lost loved one.
I ran back over Lambeth Bridge and passed both the last two offices I’ve worked at, did a semi-circuit of St James’s Park, past the traffic-free Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace, through Green Park and along the Serpentine in Hyde Park, then I diverted into Kensington Gardens, and did a loop there, then along the Regent’s canal to Regent’s Park where I did another loop to make the run up to the required distance.
Unlike last week, I hardly felt my stiff back at all, though it’s still hard to get out of bed. However I did have tired shoulders and I don’t think I could have run much further, though it was much warmer than yesterday.
Surprised to find Jack was out when I got in; he was with his friend in Regent’s Park, and was planning to see his family later. I’d expected to have an hour or two at home, but it was more like half an hour, just giving me time for a shower and a change. My CA500 top had arrived, which saved tine (as well as some new wooden toothbrushes from Anything But Plastic, who’d been so accommodating when I pointed out the error in how they spelt “colour” on their website.
I had time for some scrambled tofu and orange juice before cycling to Hollybush – the quick route I’m now so familiar with. I stopped at Second Shot Coffee, got to the centre early and waited outside for others to arrive, until a runner I didn’t know told me that some people had already gone in. Inside I saw Joel, some girls I didn’t know, and Beth who was already talking to Aidan, so I didn’t feel the need to speak to her.
I set off weeding with Joel and a girl who I later realised was his wife (Sian). I did speak to her after a while. I was glad to be kneeling down after all the running and cycling. Sam arrived but went off to another part of the garden, then Isabelle the task leader turned up. I said she was late, but she’d gone to the other garden in case people turned up there.
I spoke briefly to Srta about the horrible muck she was pouring away from flower pots, and also talked to Isabelle about the instruction that they really needed two lots of six people, when actually we were working safely with a group of 12, and could have managed with less. I never feel coherent talking to her - her beauty (and her shyness) overwhelms me. I don’t think Sree needed to be so worried yesterday when only eight signed up and we eventually had just six.
The delightful Rachel was also there, she’s not usually seen this far east. She’s going up to Hebden Bridge tomorrow.
Mainly I spoke to Emma, who I chatted to about Camden, which she used to love visiting, Singapore where she lived when young, her diabetes and the strange large plants we were shredding, which looked as if they had green flags coming off them. She came by bike but is working towards 5km runs. She asked I counted her run as a 5km, I said no cos she hadn’t, but what I didn’t get was that she’d walked the last 1.5km so as I said, it would have counted as a ParkRun, and I urged her to join us on a ParkRun when it comes back.
Later she wrote a lovely message on the website "Hello Lisa, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you earlier. Thanks so much for taking time to chat away with me. I’m thoroughly impressed by all of your achievements on here. Hopefully we can do a run together and more tasks soon. Happy Easter! Best/Emma".
I cycled back via Victoria Park, which was lovely in the sunshine. I went that way so I could photograph our daffodils in the council estate, which are now coming up nicely. I saw Aidan and Beth in Old Ford Road.
This meant cycling home along the crowded canal, but I didn’t mind today because the weather was so nice and I was in no hurry. Despite being worn out, I diverted to the High Street to go to Holland & Barrett, but it was shut so I went in a corner shop for a litre-bottle of Lucozade (which didn’t last the evening).
After failing to find the football on television, I watched the last half hour of ‘Carry On Matron’ on ITV3 - one of the best - and read things on my phone, had a proper bath and listened to some more 1976 music (such as Cockney Rebel/Pilot/Wings/AC-DC/Steely Dan/Manfred Mann’s Earthband/Thin Lizzy/Can/Slik).
Jack came home earlier than expected so we watched a "Fish" and I got him to come to bed early.