22 January 2010

A Touch of Grey

Yesterday was a great running day. After listening to Karno on the
journey to London, it is simply not an option to use the Tube for the
rest of the commute. I complemented my run to the office yesterday
morning with a run back to Victoria to catch the coach back to Oxford.
4.5 miles, slightly slower than the morning run at 8:50/mile. On
crowded London streets that's not at all bad. But sitting on the coach
in a sweat-drenched running shirt was not good at all - I must carry a
dry tee-shirt to change into.
This morning, Karno struck again. Was I going to get the bus to Didcot
to catch the train? Of course not! Did it matter that it was
drizzling? What do you think? Five miles in gentle rain is nothing to
a wild runner like me - like I aspire to be, perhaps.
And I have something serious to train for: it is now certain that I'll
be going back to my old school as a member of the Old Boys'
cross-country team to run the Barney Run. I can't help remembering the
multichoice quiz we wrote for the alternative school magazine, which
rejoiced under the inspired name "GG148" - the number used by the Lily
Laundry of Darlington to identify items from the school. I still have
some very old handkerchieves with GG148 tickets on them, for old
times' sake.
The quiz, which I think was the work of Steve Fletcher and me,
offered famous quotations and a choice of people (usually including a
master or other school personality) who might have said it. "In the
long run we are all dead": was that JMKeynes or Lord Barnard, whho
donated the trophy awarded for the senior cross-country competition
known inevitably as the Barney Run? That one went down well - less
well-received was "It was so cold I saw a brass monkey looking for a
welder". That was Mike Hailwood, talking about the weather at Watkins
Glen: I can't remember what other names were offered, though it could
have been any of us who lived in that Victorian edifice in upper
Teesdale where the radiators rarely merited the description lukewarm.
The headmaster, a chemist and therefore ignorant of the etymology of
the expression (I wonder whether Mike the Bike knew?) required us to
unpick some 300 or more copies of the magazine and replace the page
with a new one from which all references to brass monkeys had been

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