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
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
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
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
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
First lady's no 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
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
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
Finally I will leave you with this unarguable statement of the
Until the next race, then,