In homage to one of my former school colleagues who now goes under the nom d’instagram of “Albertojonz” I thought I would record the simple pleasure that comes from an early morning walk with the dogs. On Instagram Mr Jonz regularly posts pictures of “a run with a view”. These are taken in various places as his employment as a band tour manager takes him around the globe. I envy him – not so much for the travel aspect and the beautiful (and sometimes not so salubrious) locations in which he runs, but for the mere fact that he can still be keeping reasonably fit at his (our) age by means of running. Jogging is off the agenda for me as a series of knee operations have gradually sliced away the cartilage till I feel they must be disappearing like a bar of soap in a hot bath.
I don’t recall Jonz being a great athlete when he was younger. In fact I do not recall him doing anything more energetic than strumming a guitar, if that is the correct term for his particular brand of punk. But I reckon that is the reason for his fitness now and my lack of cartilaginous lubrication. Alberto appears to have kept his joints intact by means of being relatively sedentary. I, meanwhile, seem to be suffering the curse of mid-life arthroscopy as a result of pursuing my dreams on hockey pitches across southern England and the East Midlands as well as running half marathons and one marathon. So now I am reduced to walking as my means of exercise. Occasionally the walk is spoiled by trying to hit a golf ball into an impossibly small hole, but yesterday’s was a walk with Mrs B and the two dogs around one of our favourite routes which is right on our doorstep. It is good to remind ourselves of our good fortune to live in such a reassuringly quiet part of the world where the small rolling hills envelope you like a friendly hug.
The only blot was at the end of the land when we walk past another proposed development where a local builder has bought a commercial barn specifically to build a house. At the moment the planners are not playing ball, despite the owner putting farm machinery and then cows in the said barn. (where does a builder acquire cows?) Planners saw through this ruse and turned it down. Previously he had horses in the field but these do not count as agricultural, so one day – miraculously – sheep appeared instead. He also wanted to build an access road, but planners told him it had to be a track – i.e. with grass in the middle. So he did so and also widened and extended the entrance while he was at it. It is all pretty much good to go – as a smallholding. Except we all know that if planning permission is given for a house, the farming facade will drop away to reveal – hey presto! – a builder’s yard. Which I guess will tie in nicely with the concrete disposal service and commercial vehicle park just across the way…
Hey ho. Better put that soap box away. It was still a nice walk.