Wednesday, October 26, 2011

La Retour

I ate, tidied and dressed for running this morning.  Up the hill to Walkley village centre, taking the branch off to the Rec.  A man has converted the old pre-fab built school at the edge of the park into his home and is working away on something in his open garage.  Dog walkers wish me good morning.

I ditch the tarmac path, shrugging off soggy trainers in favour of the short cut across the grass.  Two dogs bound towards me then veer off, attracted by eachother.  I stop at the edge of the park and enjoy the view out across the Rivelin and Damflask valleys. It’s 13 minutes since I left my house.

Across the park I join a path which threads its way through the allotments – flat along the contours then dropping steeply on cobbled and flagged paving, they go on for over a mile, stretched out up and down the hillsides.  Some are split up into 4 or more plots.  Some covered in black paper for the winter, some still showing the spoils of ruined onions, leathery green leaves littered across the surface of the soil.

Finally I was spat out on Bole Hill Road and I wiggled down to a path which I had walked before, approximately 20 years ago.  I pinged out of the mud and dank trees of the allotments into an open field where two paths run parallel to eachother at different levels.

I stood here 20 years ago on a rest day from a course (lets ignore its basis until I’m happier in my work) and said the words, “Yeah, I think I want to go to Sheffield University”.  This field has been a defining point in my life.

20 years ago it had taken me ages to get there.  This time it took me 26 minutes so rather than turning around at the other end of the field I kept going in a rivelineley direction.

Through autumnal trees and finally to the river side below the A61.  It could’ve been a million miles away for all the noise that was present.  I reached the still millpond with ducks and reeds and the hillside and trees reflected perfectly, broken by nothing more than the excited paddling of expectant duck-feet.

I’ve run from the Rivelin Road down to the edge of town before so was on familiar territory, running up the hill.   The only differences this time are daylight, sunshine and other people for the last time I passed this way was December last year after work.  Dogs and children passed by and I reached the carpark before turning around and heading back down the path.  

 I swept up to the A61 and beyond, climbing to the small back-roads which run along the edge of the suburbs bolted onto the edge of Sheffield until finally, another path swoops back down to the valley, the river and the main road.  Straight down another path and into the parklands – swings and climbing frames and the lido paddling pools flitter by in the corner of my eye then eventually I am spit out at a 5-way junction.

A tiny back-road climbs up from the lights but then it dawns on me that it seems like a dead-end.  I persevere, having faith in Yorkshire planners that there will be a cut-through at the end that spits me out where I want to be.  Better than that, I find myself on the edge of the park where I was an hour earlier.

Instead of taking the straight-up-hill route I weave through some streets, gradually turning from detached, to semi-detached and into the terraces that I recognise.  More dead ends and cut-throughs take me to the old school building that I could see from the bottom of the park.  I wibble my way to my front door eventually, having reverted to walking for the last km or so.

My legs ache and all I want to do is take a bath in my new house.  It’s a damn sight more pleasant that the shower and bigger than the old house.  Satisfyingly so.  The rest of the day passes in a flurry of unpacking activity.  TSK and I head over to the old house to empty some more things away together and briefly check our e-lives.

We enjoy the drive home and look forwards to doing it for the last time.

Random running thoughts: the spice rack - who killed it?  Must eat oranges, post cards and fridge magnets, gardening tools from Bassett, compost bin, buy bike carry bag for Eleanor.

The bath was so much better than the shower. fully restored, I loaded the back pack on my back and walked out to Walkley. A well stocked grocer awaited at the top of the hill selling everything I expected - the best quality veg (mostly) - as well as everything I needed - lime curd, eggs and cereal for breakfast. I bought a lot (40 litre rucsac) of good food for less than £20.

Then across the road to the butchers for lamb leg steaks, pork sausages and rabbit for a stew £6.18 all together. I thought to myself it's proper shame that we don't get to shop like this regularly. Fun, cheap and sustainable. Then I realised we're allowed to. It could even be said that's what weekends might be for. It might even end up being a plan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is awesome. You must be living about a minute from where I used to. Rivelin is great. Get back out on that mountain bike and enjoy!