year index

Almost Dry by Bookham Standards!

The forecast for today is dull and grey, but as we prepare to leave, the sun is definitely showing signs of coming out to laugh at the forecasters.

Sadly, by the time we get to Bookham, it's changed its mind and left. We'll call it Sexit, perhaps? No, maybe not.

So it's dull, but not raining, and cold but not freezing. Could be worse...

Dr Rob starts the race, then has to nip out of the way pretty sharpish with his stepladder to avoid being trampled in the rush. Besides, you know what runners are like: one of them would likely trip over it, break their leg and then insist on doing the race anyway!

Amanda waves to me from the crowd, but it doesn't necessarily help. Look carefully, she really is in the picture...

Ok, that's better.

A couple of minutes later, Rob again has to shift his proverbial smartish-like to get out of the way of the kids. "Fun run", they call it, but some of them look pretty serious to me!

Here we are at the bottom of Bagden Hill, where they emerge from the woods. This is the sort of place that's great fun to get to on a bike, so long as you don't have to go back again up the 20% gradient. I won't think about that for now.

Well, I say they emerge from the woods... Has everyone else got lost?

Ah no, just a gap. Here comes Amanda.

Do you think the sheep look a little bit like a cloud of fluffy cotton-wool flies buzzing around her head?

No, you don't, do you. I can tell.

Across the road and off into the Polesden Lacey estate.

And no sooner is her back turned than some hussy is flaunting herself at me. You can see how photographers get a bad reputation!

And speaking of photographers, Tony of SSP is checking out the famous puddle. It's not quite as deep as we've often known it: I came through on my bike almost without even getting my feet wet, whereas in one previous year I actually came off and nearly killed an expensive camera!

And look at that - first man is a total wimp! Two of us pointing cameras at him and he still doesn't do anything to make an entertaining picture!

First lady's no better.

That's better!

"I'm going in!" we hear one of them cry, and in they certainly go.

No, walking on water isn't going to work, but full marks for trying.

Ah, now here's a man who always gives us what we want!

Mind, he wouldn't be allowed in my car like that!

And here she is, our Lady of the Lake herself. Quite an uneventful traversal this year, but she's not complaining.

Ever the professional, Tony certainly won't be put off by the thought that she will be able to get photos from me without money changing hands! Obviously what does change hands is private.

Bookham 10k: done! And ten minutes better than last year, before her knee problem was diagnosed.

After the race, we try to find Nicky to say thanks and goodbye, but she's holed up doing race organiser stuff in the school library where none may enter with muddy shoes! She's right behind "George is Jealous", read into that what you will...

A little way up the road, Polesden Lacey has new rooms just opened in the house and an exhibition on, so that's where we go afterwards. Then we realise that Amanda hadn't done her normal star jump with race bling, so we'll just have to have a late and blingless jump. To make up for it, the setting is a lot more attractive than the driveway at the school.

So, your energy gels, your recovery drinks, all that silly "sports nutrition" stuff... Rubbish! What you need is ✹Yeast-Vite

Ah, now that's what we call bling! It's copy of a diamond tiara that Mrs Greville left to the Queen (our Lizzie's mum) in her will, and which has found much royal favour since. Apparently Camilla has it now, and according to one web commentator: "Besides, Cam's the only one in the family with hair massive enough to structurally support this thing."

And at the other end of the scale, my mother had a vacuum cleaner exactly like this when I was a small boy. It was originally the kind of thing that only the seriously rich could afford, so I'm not sure if hers was second-hand or just that prices had dropped substantially without the design changing over several decades.

Now, for ten points, what is "Horse Shoe Quality" when it comes to a detached collar suitable for a butler or footman in an Edwardian stately home?!

Finally I will leave you with this unarguable statement of the purest truth:

If only...

Until the next race, then,


year index