The Runday Shag
Date: 3 September 2023
Hare: Speedy Humper
Venue: Newlands Corner car park
On On: Horse & Groom, Merrow
Mad Dogs & Englishmen – in September! “Runners” spotted by locals.
Today we she should be most grateful for the heroic efforts of our hare, who is beleaguered by Lyme disease, a gutted house and, I believe, she laid it toute seule.
We arrived a few minutes late (see rant below). As it was a lovely summer’s day (a bit of weather as in our childhoods, nothing else) the car park was almost full. We squeezed into a narrow space and observed Popeye searching for the On Out and Birthing Blanket arriving and waiting for someone to leave their space.
The trail was well laid (if you were on it), except for some disconcerting gaps at changes of direction, but perhaps that was a deliberate ploy to hinder progress. If not on trail, there were confusing trails of white mould! We thought we would catch up soon (yes, the dog thinks too) or would at least hear some calling. We met Teddy Bear and then passed Mrs G & Olive Oyl who described an approaching slope as “like falling off a cliff”. We went hopelessly wrong having veered off flour near the yew tree duck boards (orig. Ypres, 1914!) and observed the silent arrival, late as usual, of Atalanta, who must have found the trail and disappeared just as silently. Again.
The yews were something to behold and there were more of them later. Keep that thought. There may yet be more to come.
Teddy Bear rightly judged that the trail would be left-hander and missed the detour to the golf course, so we came upon him again. At this stage the ‘phone pinged and there was a message from FRB – “Underinflated tyre, sorry no report this week.” Oh dear.
We still struggled to catch up so maybe the “walkers” did their own thing this week. Soon, we hit the open space as the Mad Dogs and Englishmen hour approached and the hare did a brilliant job of persuading what was left of the pack to lose height in the searing heat and cross the fields.
“In Hong Kong, they strike a gong, and fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand each inmate who’s in late”
Is that me?
“But Englishmen detest a siesta”
However, our resident Scotsman with a Spanish twist, Le Pro, soldiered on today.
There was the sound of calling, but apparently it was a father and daughter playing football in their garden, so I committed a heinous crime and asked a walker if he had seen a group of people in “brightly coloured T-shirts” – I’m reluctant to use the term “runners” these days. Surprisingly, the answer was, “No, but I saw a group of runners heading that way!”
Climbing back up the hill (see chart!!!) at last I spotted some familiar gaits and shirts, but it was almost the On In now.
We welcomed several returnees and a larger than usual cohort went on on to the pub.
Well done, and thanks, Speedy.
Yes, we were late, and there were even road works in the last 1/2 mile! The pleasure of the open road, Mr Toad, has gone. Once upon a time one could overtake 4 or 5 cars in one manoeuvre. No more, especially on a Sunday when one’s progress is limited by horses, horse boxes, learner drivers and, in particular, numerous Surrey cycle clubs, who (as is their right) clutter our roads preventing clear passage.
With the M25 “Improving Your Journey” for the next 2 years, progress on alternative routes is limited to the speed of the slowest. The 20 mile journey used to take less than 40 minutes (at only 30mph). Now it can take over an hour, suggesting that it would be just as quick to use a bicycle with the dog in a basket barking at everyone in our way. Unfortunately, in that case there would be nothing left in the tank to run the trail!
Simple mathematics tells us that if everyone takes twice as long as necessary to complete their journeys then there will be twice as much traffic on the road at any one time! That is unless, of course, some people no longer bother because they have lost the will to leave home. Perhaps that is the aim of those in “power”?
Pollution is now being increased by the conversion of tracts of previously serviceable roads into permanent bus and cycle lanes, thus significantly reducing (a) the capacity of the roads and, unforgivably, (b) the efficiency of junctions causing even more congestion.
In Hong Kong, which is far more space constrained than the UK (obviously), pinch points are relieved by the construction of a flyover in a matter of days. In the UK we install more traffic lights thus hindering progress even more.
On On, Petal