In recent years, the Cabbage Patch 10 Mile race has been organised
by that one-woman force of nature which manifests in mortal guise as
Caitlin Limmer: but she has other fish to fry, or brassicas to
braise, or something, so the Stragglers have taken it on again. What
will this mean?
Well let me start by reassuring you all of the most important single
thing by far: Fullers are still sponsoring it and beer is still in
the goody bag!
Phew, with that out of the way we can look at the changes without
fear. They're not huge, but the main one is starting an hour
earlier, at 9 instead of 10. That makes quite a lot of sense, as the
race starts on main roads which can get seriously busy later in the
day. Traffic is briefly stopped, but none of the roads are actually
closed for the event. Of course, you may be aware that the race
began in 1982, before Sunday shopping was a thing (Sunday Trading
Act 1994), so the only people around would be those on their
way to church and heathens prepared to run on the Sabbath (cue
Vangelis music...). I mean, were there even motor cars in those
days? Yes, there must have been. I'm getting confused.
Err... yes... anyway... We were expecting to see Amanda's cousin
Hugo again, as we have at both the previous CP's Amanda has run, but
at the last moment he's had to pull out with injury. Claire's up for
it, though, and we haven't seen her for a little while, so that's
And so here we are at the pub.
But what's this? It's a Claire lookalike! But she hasn't got the
hair quite right, so I'm not fooled. We haven't seen the real Claire
So this is Andrew and his son Tom, neither of whom look even
remotely like Claire, but now that Amanda's a Straggler herself,
she's starting to get to know some of them. I think she's promised
Andrew I'll take some photos.
Ok, getting on for race time, I'm off down the road a bit for the
Three lead bikes?! That seems very generous, but perhaps it's
an old Cabbage Patch tradition. Checking back, there were three of
them in 2017 too. (I don't have any relevant photos for 2014, which
was the other time Amanda ran this race.)
And here comes the pack!
"I found Claire, she's just behind me!"
No picture of her though: she's in a slightly tighter bunch and
taking more of an inside line, and while I do see her, it's just a
few brief glimpses behind other runners.
A mile or so further on I catch her at Ferry Road. To get a decent
view, I've climbed up on the road sign on the corner, which is why
this shot is looking downwards. I'm probably setting a very bad
example to young people, climbing on the street furniture like that.
Good, they need more bad examples. [Although when I say 'bad
example', I do mean it in a very middle-class way: walking the
streets selling my body to fund my crack cocaine habit is not the
kind of thing I have in mind. [And please don't say that I wouldn't
earn enough selling my body to fund a crack cocaine habit: the truth
They'll now run down to Kingston Bridge and then back up the
towpath. I could follow them, but there aren't a lot of photogenic
spots until they leave Kingston, so I'll just take the footbridge
over the river and head them off before the Hawker Centre.
And I only just get to the Hawker Centre before the first
runners do. I'm too late to get any pictures of the leaders from my
intended spot a little further on. The lead bike trio have separated
into these two still at the front and the third just visible to the
There's a bit of a gap in the field, but these swans suddenly glide
across in formation to land in the river a moment later.
It's Andrew the Boat-Beater! I'm looking out for Amanda and don't
see him until he shouts, "Hi Steve!".
And blimey, if it isn't Ceara too!
Clearly I'm not hiding well enough.
It's not really as busy as the telephoto lens makes it look.
Right, that's Claire on her way, time to move on.
One of the changes to the route is minor, but still a bit
disappointing, in that the runners come up the long driveway from
Ham House towards the Petersham gatehouse, but then turn off rather
than running through it. But that's my next stop, anyway.
Aha! Got you before you were ready!
Thank goodness normality is resumed.
So as I say, they come up the long drive...
...and then have to turn off just before the gatehouse. That's a
pity, and maybe it can be reinstated in future.
Hold on a minute: let me show you something.
This is the stonework above the gatehouse. You will, of course,
recognise the arms of the Tollemache family (Argent a fret Sable)
quartered with Murray (Azure an imperial crown Or between three
estoiles Argent within a double tressure flory counter-flory of the
second), although I accept that you'd really need to zoom in more to
resolve the latter clearly.
What does that mean?
Well, it would be a bit more obvious on a shield, but basically top
left and bottom right are a plain silver background (Argent)
with a black (Sable) latticework pattern (fret) while
top right and bottom left have a blue background (Azure) with
a gold (Or) crown surrounded by three silver (Argent)
stars (estoiles) with a double-line border (double
tressure) with little flowery decorations on both sides (flory
counter-flory) in gold (of the second, meaning the
second colour previously mentioned).
You see, this is the kind of thing everyone's missing because of the
It's important too. We will shortly be restoring the full glory of
mediaeval England and it'll be pretty bad if you don't recognise the
arms of your liege lord on the battlefield. (Obviously the
supporters and the crest are significant as well, but they won't be
on your lord's shield or banner, so you've got a bit more time to
And note the Latin motto, "CONFIDO CONQUIESCO" - "I trust
and am content". Do you think anyone has ever said that to Boris
Johnson? "Confido non ultra quam possum iacere" is more the
sort of thing, perhaps.
Back to the race...
Claire's not far behind. Looks like she's pleased with her pace.
So after she passes, I turn back to my bike to start putting my
camera away. As I'm doing so, a voice calls out behind me: "Steve!
You didn't take my picture!"
Lindsay! Sorry, didn't know you were there!
Ok, now I'll jump back on the bike.
I just manage to get to the Buccleugh Gardens entrance before
Lindsay, which means I'd better not hang about if I'm going to get
ahead of Amanda by Richmond Bridge. I didn't think I'd be quite so
slow relative to the runners at this point, even allowing for the
fact that I've got a slightly longer distance and a bit of a hill in
the way. I manage to get to the bridge first, but only just, so
instead of taking the picture I'd planned, down from the bridge onto
the path, I carry on straight across to the Twickenham side.
Round the listed telephone box. The Richmond society is keen to
preserve these classic British design icons, but unlike old
buildings, it's hard to find much to do with them. An article from
May last year at
[...] the future of others, such as the listed kiosk
[...] on Richmond Bridge [...] remains unclear
I fear that being a landmark for runners to run around is not going
to be a long-term solution.
After this, the route has changed again a bit, and instead of
meandering through the backstreets, they're going to run back along
the river almost to the finish line. I'm not sure quite how long
they'll take, and as I was pretty marginal getting here ahead of
Amanda, I decide not to wait for Claire or Lindsay and head straight
It will turn out that I would have had loads of time, but that's
water under the bridge, so to speak.
And here she is, about to turn into the grounds of York House where
the race finishes. It's all a bit of a bunfight in there, and unless
I lock up my bike it really would be a bit awkard, so I don't follow
but stay here to wait for Claire.
And I wait for Claire.
And I wait for Claire.
And Amanda comes out and says, "Have you seen Claire?"
Have I missed her? But Amanda didn't see her after the finish line
either. We hope she's ok...
Eventually we know she can't be this far back unless she's
had a problem, so in case we have somehow crossed and she's gone to
the pub, Amanda heads that way while I get back on the bike and ride
the race route in reverse. Amanda phones: "No, she's not here". I
continue, and eventually I'm back at the bridge and there are no
more runners, or even walkers. I turn round and ride back towards
the pub myself.
And just as I'm coming back into the centre, Amanda rings again:
"Claire is here!" She's fine, we did miss her somehow. The
pub is heaving, and unlike previously the weather isn't nice enough
to stand outside, so I meet them at the bike rack and we go to a
nearby cafe instead.
Well it turns out Claire was just a minute or two behind Amanda and
apparently I stared right through her without seeing her as she
finished! Oops! She was too knackered to shout out to me, and then
she got into a bit of a barney with the T-shirt wallah who'd run out
of XS sizes which is why she didn't see Amanda there. Amanda didn't
even know XS was supposed to be on offer, and has an S size. 'S' in
this case may not stand for 'Small' but for 'Steve', because when
she holds it up, I honestly don't think it would be ridiculously
tight on me! It's definitely a large men's small, so the putative XS
might not be all that much better a fit.
But a bit of Kaffee und Kuchen out of the damp and the cold
(and a good bitch about T-shirt sizing and suchlike) and all is well
Now you may recall that both my previous Cabbage Patch reports
featured actual cabbage pictures, from the Hampton Court Palace
kitchen garden as it happens. Not this time, though. No Hampton
Court Palace for us, we have to go to John Lewis to order lounge
curtains! I may pride myself on creatively random associations, but
I am stumped at how to make the Kingston John Lewis Soft Furnishings
department relevant to a race report, or even of vague interest to
anyone. Best quit there, I think.
At the end of the day then, I trust we can agree the Cabbage has
been well Patched.
Love to all,