Sunday, November 23, 2008


Sage conjures up many images and definitions for me at the moment. Old Sage - I feel like one. Clary Sage - my favourite aromatherapy oil, great for meditating and also for pain relief. And Lorna Sage whose great memoir I read on our brilliant minibreak. Narrowboating really is a perfect way to spend a long weekend - especially if you've just taken up running. You have to get up at the crack of dawn anyway - well by the latest 6.30 so you can set off by daybreak. And fantastic running as the sun rises with the beautiful colours reflecting in the canal. Last week still felt autumnal - the light refractions: yellows, golds, reds and leaf shapes incredible. By the third day we'd mastered the running/lock/boating combination with me running ahead and sorting out the lock and Phil skippering the boat. Ideally not really a winter minibreak choice, because of the hours of daylight, but hey ho we just about managed to get to Stoke Bruene from Leighton Buzzard (actually not far at all) and back. It was a bit of a rush though. I'm afraid I wouldn't recommend racing to get to Stoke Bruene canal museum in November sleet on a Sunday morning by narrowboat. My high expectations after all the brilliant museums in Hong Kong were dashed by this amateur effort.
What I wanted - a history of canals in the Industrial Revolution context, together with detailed histories of local locks, locks are such impressive pieces of early technology. Yet most of the dates on the ones we went past were 1860s onwards - after the railways! I want histories of canalside buildings not to mention how Britain's canal history sits in the world history of canals. What we got - a few 'models' of what a couple of tunnels look like. As with all my beefs - it needed more investment; a professional canal historian to revamp it. We loved
some of the food we tried - the Plough at Simpson definitely needs a mention. Wonderful fish, salads and desserts. That was the good thing about this sort of a holiday - combining peace and tranquility, with history, good food, bit of exercise, reading biography. Perhaps it's the wonder of history that I find the most powerful motivator- even more so I think after Obama's victory.
I did the run today - Leeds Abbey Dash 10k. Extremely slowly (1 hour 30mins), but for a first effort I'm pleased. Definitely progress. Perhaps all my professors are right after all.

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