Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Running The Cub, RSPB Bird Watch and Free Speech, Anyone?
It's a gloomy day here: wet, misty, dull and murky. I have a cold which has stopped play as far as running goes (for the moment) and as a result I'm feeling a bit grumpy about the enforced inaction. I felt rubbish with it yesterday but it's already lifting a little so I'm not planning on sitting still for much longer.
I can't even if sitting still for lengthy periods were in my nature because I have a new running target in my sights. Every March a race called The Grizzly takes place in Devon. It goes along twenty miles of cliffs, rivers, streams, bogs and beaches around Seaton, Beer and Branscombe. M has done it many times and got his place for this year in the ballot last September. A scaled-down version called The Cub runs alongside The Grizzly, comprising nine miles over the same cliffs and beaches. Places for both are hotly contested and around this time of year a frenzy of swapping tickets goes on, with people who weren't lucky in the ballot desperate for the tickets of those who were, but are now unable to run for whatever reason. You can change your Grizzly ticket for entry to the Cub and that is what my dear husband has done. He'e given me his Grizzly entry so that I can run The Cub. He's planning to take his bike so he can cycle out to strategic places on the course and shout me on (or possibly pick me up and cycle me home if I've collapsed!).
Setting this week aside for getting rid of colds gives me five weeks to train. It will mainly be about getting hill fit as the distance shouldn't be a problem. I ran 12k at the weekend (7.5 miles) with some hills thrown in for good measure and was fine. The Cub will be about 15k and the terrain is tough. I'm under no illusions: I know it will be a challenge and I'm by no means taking getting round in one piece for granted, but as you'll have realised by now I like having a tough goal to work towards so I'm looking forward to the training and to the race.
I did my RSPB garden birdwatch on Monday and had good results. More or less everyone who should have showed up did so I returned entries for Robins, Dunnocks, Blue tits, Great tits, Blackbirds, Nuthatches, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves, Great Spotted Woodies, Siskin, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Sparrow, Coal Tit and Moorhen.
Last week the dogs and I watched a Barn Owl hunting along the hedges a little before dusk. We were out for an end-of-day walk and he just appeared, floating above the field maple and hazel. It was magical. He was mobbed by two indignant crows who took exception to his presence, and ended up sitting in a tree a few feet away from where we were standing, entranced. I'd forgotten how small they are. They look huge when flying.
I have so far refrained from mentioning the new American President on my blog, but yesterday I was sent a petition from change.org which I want to share with those of you who haven't seen it yet.
On Mr Trump's Inauguration Day, at least six journalists were arrested for covering the protests held in response to his becoming President. The petition states that they were there in a recording capacity only, that they had their ID documents with them stating who they were and that they showed these to the police. They were arrested anyway, and charged with felony rioting, which carries a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a $10,000 fine. Three have since been released but the others haven't. The petition was at 20,000 signatures when I signed it last night: this morning it stands at 74,000.
I haven't signed the petition calling for Mr Trump's state visit to the UK to be cancelled, because I am holding to the hope that we can lead by example and show him how mindful, decent people behave and also because I would like him to have to confront the peaceful demonstrations that will inevitably occur here as a response to his presence in our country, demonstrations he won't be able to dismiss as fake news or an over-exaggeration of the press. But I have signed the petition calling for the release of these journalists. Once you start locking up reporters for covering news in order to control what's reported about you you're on your way to dismantling the fabric of the democracy that got you elected in the first place. For me, this is an outrage and a disgrace. Heres the link if you want to sign it.
On that happy note, I'll bid you all good day. I'm off to feed my cold some chocolate truffles I made yesterday :o)