Ok, Amanda tells me she lost count of the number of times she heard
that comment, but sometimes one has to accept that a cliché becomes
so because it perfectly sums up an idea...
But we'll leave the significance of that remark for a bit; those who
weren't there will just have to wait!
"The Prologue", as Frankie Howerd used to say, and I'm
inclined to think that there's an episode of "Up Pompeii" to
be had here if one looks carefully... For it is the first day of the
New Year, and that means only one thing to a vast throng of
not-quite-right-in-the-head people: Knacker Cracker! Yes, 10k (for
large values of 10) up and down Box Hill, mostly wearing entirely
inappropriate running gear.
It's a bit dull and slightly drizzly, and the National Trust
anaerobic digester is belching its usual miasma (which every year
Rob vainly insists is nothing to do with him), and our company
"Yes, I am cold in my Hawaiian grass skirt!"
Will the real Rob please stand up? Yes, there's a whole team entered
"Hands up all those who think Care In The Community isn't working
If you look closely, you'll see that somebody has even come as Steve
Now at this point, and not before, Rob informs everyone that the
start will be split into two groups taking slightly different
initial routes. This will reduce some of the traditional problem
with a bottleneck at the start, but it means that I have to rapidly
change my plan. I was going to take a couple of quick shots of the
start, then get ahead of the runners by taking my bike on a
different route to them and set up shop at the bottom of the Burford
Slope. But half of them are now going to be taking that same route,
and I just won't have time to get back to the bike, put my camera
away and get going before they're on top of me.
Something has to give, and it's pictures of the start. I therefore
leave well in advance and hit the road with a good lead. But blimey!
That descent is treacherous by bike: this is for teenage adrenalin
junkies, not gentlemen of mature years and sober mien such as
myself. (Stop sniggering. This is not a Frankie Howerd
sketch, I told you.)
I only just have time to get to the bottom and set up my equipment
before the first runner is upon us. I'm pretty sure that he's
actually gained on me since the start. How is that possible?!
But we won't have a picture of him here. You cull mercilessly
and still end up with far too many pictures, so you start
channelling great mass murderers of history and still you
are being too lenient...
So I'll just have a man in a dress as representative here.
Oh and we'll have some kids too, because they're showing themselves
faster than a lot of the adults!
And then, well, is he a real escaped mental patient? He'd
not be out of place here if he was!
And finally, we explain the title: Amanda is dressed as an Egyptian
queen, and there are some subtle clues to indicate that she's
Cleopatra, not Nefertiti (bonus points if you can name any other
Egyptian queen without Google's help).
See this elf? He's only way ahead of everyone else (including the
man dressed as Steve Winder), and far too quick for me to get him
where I want to be next, which is the bottom of another steep
Right, here we are. I've not been to this spot on previous KCs, so I
don't know what to expect, but the light and sightlines are
excellent here. I put down my little video camera on its tripod and
(slowly) start walking up. I've got one of Amanda's trekking poles
to give her at the top, and it's quite useful for my own ascent.
First lady, as opposed to first man dressed as a lady. There's a lot
of cross-dressing going on today.
Ah, now this chap is about to scientifically prove that the fastest
method of descent is sliding on your arse. Others accept that it may
technically be the case, but worry about the potential effect of
tree stumps in one's path.
After all, it's a long way down...
"Gawd bless yer, yer Majesty!"
Although Queen Cleopatra has her subjects kneeling before her.
A quick few shots in the woods, as my shortcut path intercepts the
race route again, but they go thataway and I go thisaway.
A one-man Mexican Wave doesn't quite have the full effect. Still, at
least no Donald Trump this year; he's probably forgotten Mexico
exists by now.
Robs and Wallies dot the landscape.
And a whole bunch in highly realistic Belted Galloway costumes.
Oops, somehow while I was looking down, Amanda has got up without me
spotting her until she's on her way down again.
Uh-oh... Police brutality at the finish!
What's this? Robin has a wife and children?! I think we all
know that's not entirely likely...
Ah, how sweet. Blood-drenched cannibal butchers hand-in-hand and
smiling at the finish.
Ooh, and a bit of argy-bargy amongst the elves!
And here's Cleopatra herself, tastefully accessorised with a
carbon-fibre trekking pole that's only about two thousand years
ahead of its time. Great on the muddy slopes though, and apparently
inspired some envious glances from those around her.
Real Wally leads his troop of imitation Wallies despite a
last-minute fall in the mud.
We're almost done...
I had heard there was a bit of a lake to cross just before the Smith
and Western, but hadn't been that way myself. Afterwards,
Amanda says that I need to see it and we should have a selfie there.
The passing adults try to pretend they haven't seen the crazy
people, but the young lad can't help staring. And do note my
Tutankhamun hat. Almost as anachronistic in the other direction as
the trekking pole, but what's a millennium or two among friends?!
Now just use your imagination and pretend it's the Blue Nile.
Happy New Year everyone!