It seems a long time ago now, but 2 weeks past I was feeling a bit like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music , as freshly back from a lovely weekend in Cambridge I had powered through a work Monday by “simply remembering a few of my favourite things”- and yes it did indeed make Monday not seem so bad.
My older daughter is in her final year at Cambridge and that weekend I was undertaking one of the more enjoyable parental chores, visiting her to provide some respite from studying and to buy her a nice dinner. I have been making trips to Cambridge now for 3 years and most of these visits are filled with a schedule of stressful driving, trying not to get lost in Cambridge’s wonderful traffic system, or fall out with my husband over navigation, plenty of fetching and carrying ( and lifting of heavy suitcases and boxes up impossibly narrow staircases) and a lot of walking.
But this weekend I was travelling alone and flying there and back, so no dashing round the B and M store to buy cheap pots and pans on this occasion, instead I was looking forward to being mostly a tourist.
There is something very indulgent in having a weekend to just do as I please and better still to be in a different destination, as on most weekends I am trying to cram in the essential and the enjoyable – never quite achieving all the tasks of the essential and feeling guilty about the enjoyable !
Despite us being in the midst of one of the wettest winters of recent memory, I arrived to a Cambridge of bright blue skies and bathed in sparkly sunshine. I met my daughter for coffee and a chocolate croissant, caught up on her news, restocked her with essential supplies then left her to spend some more hours in the library.
With a few hours till dinner, I opted to make the most of the day to do some exploring and reconnaissance of a possible run I was planning the next day. My husband is a big Pink Floyd fan and by way of pilgrimage I thought I might run to Granchester meadows.
Ambling around Cambridge is always enjoyable but it is a fairly small city, so my research into the next days running route did not take much time, so to continue the theme of doing just what I wanted, I went to the cinema to see Inside Llweyn Davis.
This is not the place for a film review, and I am no great shakes as a reviewer, but I enjoyed the film and although not quite sure what to make of the plot – such as it was – the music was enjoyable and there were some nice comic moments. And by way of a bonus I had a the briefest brush with stardom, as on my way out I kind of bumped into Ralph Fiennes who was there for a Q & A to publicise his new film The Invisible Woman.
After a lovely dinner with my daughter and her boyfriend, I headed back to where I was staying to round off a perfect day by catching up with my old school friend and putting the world to rights aided by a few Lagavulin whiskies. Perfect.
My late night whisky session did not seem to have done too much damage, but I was pleased that my training did not require me to complete a set mileage. Running in Cambridge always seems easier – of course the terrain is very flat – but I think it is maybe more because I don’t set any major targets and see the runs as a different way of exploring.
Although running alone, I rarely listen to music as I like to take in my surroundings. I had a route in mind which was going to follow the river out to Granchester and then back into Cambridge. For someone with a pretty rubbish sense of direction, following a river is a safe bet, and it looked as if there were traffic free paths that would take me there.
So that was the plan, but as Robert Burns said, the best laid schemes gang aft agley – or sometimes you cannot plan for the unforeseen, in this case flooded sections of path.
I did not quite make it to Granchester, so maybe one for the summer, but had an enjoyable run regardless weaving along the river in the opposite direction and intermittently running alongside a canoe race.
A respectable 7 miles completed made my late lunch taste even better.