Archive for the ‘2014-15 Holiday Run Streak’ Tag

Holiday Run Streak, 1-3 January and out   2 comments

casoullet 2015-01-01

Yeah, a picture of a giant batch of cassoulet is precisely the way the Holiday Run Streak (Saturday before Thanksgiving till Saturday after New Year) should be represented…that or a mountain of empty bottles.  I started working on the stew New Year Day to keep busy and take my mind off the hangover, then struck on the idea that I should have a few glasses of the wine I was cooking with, and a glass of port, then a bottle of prosecco, then a chianti with the casoullet.

casoullet 2015-01-01 b

Then a half bottle of Vin Santo with an enormous quantity of biscotti.

biscotti and vin santo 2015-01-01

Then, I went for the daily run…a little over 3 miles of heavy haulage:

2015-01-01 casoulet run

Friday I had to go to Oxford to get the lab started back up for the kids’ return from the holidays.  There is a point at which there is nothing to do but wait for the pumps to catch up for about an hour so I used that time to stretch out and go get some fresh air (a crisp but sunny noontime met me):

2015-01-02 penultimate run Oxford

Finally, the Saturday after New Year Day rolled around and I could put the Holiday Run Streak (43 consecutive days of at least 3 miles per day) to rest.  That is, after one final trot, this time starting in Trowbridge.  It was raining and cold at the 9:30 start but due to warm up (and rain even harder).  Fortunately, there were breaks planned and sites to take one’s mind off things.

Stallards Inn Trowbridge church

The course stuck to roadways at first because the permissive footpaths appeared to be flooded and the fields through which they passed were like soup.  My shoes remained relatively dry until Westwood where a water main break at the top of the hill added two inches depth to the flood.  Soon after the water spout, the road headed down a cliff to the Crossed Guns between the River Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Crossed Guns Avoncliff bridge

Assuming the K&A Canal tow path to be passable, I took to it after my beer (the Crossed Guns opened at 10).  Unfortunately, it was a slick, muddy mess right up to Bradford-on-Avon and my wet feet were then also coated in clay.

At stop 2, the Dandy Lion, I briefly considered leaving the shoes outside but saw that the floors were bare and decided to go on in as I was.  While there, the clouds lightened and I could make out the shape of the sun so I finished up the stout and headed out only to watch as the skies blackened the first half mile before the rain restarted falling at 45° from vertical. Soon enough, though, I was back in Trowbridge at the Stallards where I found a coal fire awaiting.  Warming by the hearth with a cider, I decided it was time to stop this nonsense and changed into my dry kit I had hauled around the previous nine miles.

Sunday, I rest from the Run Streak but with plans to start a ‘normal’ running schedule Monday.

2015-01-03 bradford loop

 

DT #365, 31 December 2014 (Aubert et Fils Brut)   Leave a comment

Aubert et fils NYE 2014

 

Twenty-nine years on,
Happy anniversary
At least one more time.

Name: Aubert et Fils Brut
Type: champagne
Venue: house

Review/notes: The Wedding Anniversary pub crawl was epic and started at 2 pm.  We hit the the Wheatsheaf (normally closed in the afternoon) for a cider then the Steam Railway for a cider and a bitter then the Goddard Arms for I don’t remember what and the Kings and the Old Bank, with a double-back by the Pig on the Hill and the Royal Oak (quite bleak) before we dropped to Byron’s because the Regent was closed as we passed (and we stumbled right by the Hop Inn).  Then, the Beehive interrupted the path to the Castle and the Crown before we wasted the evening (again) at the Donkey (after a great meal and a bottle of wine at the Thai Orchid).  Close to midnight, we wandered home and hit the champagne just in time to watch Jules Holland count down (but we were listening to Joe Cocker on vinyl, as you do).

royal oak swindon nye 2014

I’m glad they refurbished and reopened the place, really. But, we were the only people there at 6 pm and the only staff member decided to leave the place silent as the crypt for 10 minute stretches only to punctuate it with a single (and I should add, very well chosen) song before the next long silence. Baffling, but goes some way toward explaining the empty pub.

 

The ‘run’ was interrupted a dozen (plus) times as we tried (semi-successfully) to hit every open bar in Old Town and Eastcott this afternoon.  We went back to the house once and had to double back for the Donkey after some dinner.  Here is the cumulative route:

2014-12-31 Old Town crawl

 

Happy New Year, Mofo’s!

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #363, 29 December 2014 (Mister Shiraz)   Leave a comment

Mister Shiraz

 

I asked for shiraz.
“That’s MISTER Shiraz to you,”
Responds my bottle.

Name: Mister Shiraz
Type: red wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: This wine would have suited a juicy steak or a greasy rack of BBQ ribs but it was already open when we went for a prawn salad.  I, at least, doused mine with some hot sauce.

Run today found me killing an hour waiting for the carpet to dry, so the loop included a stop at the Steam Railway on the way home.  This also gave me a few minutes for the sweat to dry before the final few hundred meters on my way to finish the holiday house cleaning.

2014-12-29 brass monkeys

 

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #362, 28 December 2014 (Egg Nog)   Leave a comment

Egg Nog

The weather is right
And it wouldn’t be Christmas
Without some Egg Nog.

Name: Egg Nog
Type: booze
Recipe: The old family recipe, always delicious
Venue: house

Review/notes: I have this at least once every winter as a nostalgic way to prove I’m both fearless and foolhardy.  On the other hand, this is one of the finest concoctions known to man.  Twenty minutes in the freezer makes it a fine dessert (although I use it as a protein shake for breakfast).  Divine.

Not so divine was the run today…sore and cold and the pavements were icy and free from traction.  Was quite glad after 3.3 miles to return home to some household chores and the rest of the nog.

2014-12-28 town centre loop

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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The Crown, Westbury, Wiltshire   Leave a comment

Crown Westbury

Trying unsuccessfully to find the Horse and Groom, I gave up and entered the Lounge Bar of the Crown.  As I walked toward the loo, a huge dog started barking at me so once I finished I took to the Public Bar to get a 6X but there was nowhere to sit so I headed back into the Lounge where the dog recommenced his barking.

 

Crown Westbury dog

“I think it’s the hat, mate,” one of the guys at a nearby table offered.  I removed it, saying, “or maybe the sheep shit on my shoes has him excited;” however, as soon as I laid the cap on the table the beast rolled over and went back to sleep.  That’s right, etiquette lessons from a Great Dane.

Crown Westbury beer

It was another fine bar and one to linger at, but the trains were spaced by about two hours and I was really ready to head home at this point.  As I left, the first raindrops fell on what had, up until then, been a stunningly beautiful — if cold — day for a wee jog:

2014-12-27 Westbury 10 miles

The Prince of Wales, Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire   Leave a comment

Prince of Wales Dilton Marsh sign

With the bad taste of the Bell still lingering, I decided to make the stretch to the Prince of Wales a bit more of a real workout by doing a minute flat-out then a minute of recovery jog until I got there.  Had I left the Bell two minutes earlier I wouldn’t have been caught behind a cattle drive at mile 5, but I was eventually able to veer off without too much of a detour.

2014-12-27 Westbury 10 miles

This diligence was rewarded with a friendly barmaid, some bemused old guys to talk to, and a peek at the awesome skittles alley off to the right of the bar.  We had a general discussion on travel with one sour old dude saying “I never been to the States,” and me answering, honestly, “I wouldn’t waste the money nor the time if I were you.”  We then agreed on Italy with the general bar consensus being Sicily.

“What are you doing, then…orienteering?” the foul tempered one spat as he pointed to my map I used as a coaster.  “I guess.  I’m running pub-to-pub, so, sure, why not?” As I was leaving he cheerily called out, “enjoy your orienteering,” but on retrospect it was slathered with sarcasm.

Prince of Wales Dilton Marsh

The Bell, Standerwick, Somerset   1 comment

Bell Standerwick sign

Slightly more than a mile on from the Full Moon came the Bell, a highway-side inn that appears to cater to upper-middle class pensioners in tweed jackets with ties.  I think “cool-ly polite” best sums up the reception I received.

2014-12-27 Westbury 10 miles

The house could easily seat 200 for dining which made the two I spotted seem stranded.  An old couple dressed for church or a meeting with their solicitor came in as I drank and passed me carefully on their way to their regular table.

Just before I left a third — much younger — couple came in and was greeted with a silent tilt of the head and raised eyebrow, the implied, “yes? Is there something you wanted?” remaining unspoken.  “Is there a table free for lunch?” the woman tentatively asked.  “Yes, just take any not marked ‘RESERVED,’ and we’ll be over shortly.”  I drank up and left without notice from the staff.

Bell Standerwick

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