Sunday, 8 February 2015


Saturday dawned bright and cold. I had an agenda. I wanted to get out a longish run and get back in time to have a shower and get to Telferton to the sorting office before it closed at 2pm. And I wanted to get sea swimming before dark if possible. There wasn't much wind so I set off on the flattest run I know. Along to Musselburgh lagoons and then back via the road. 15 and a half miles and that smug superior feeling when I got in already to cook up some lunch for myself and Buchanan was evidently not long up. He says "How are you?" in a spritely way but I can see right through him. If you ever phone him up and he sounds very lively on the phone, the chances are, 30 seconds ago, he was fast asleep.

After that we'd gone to Telferton, we headed out to Gullane Bay, in a relaxed mood.

The sun was out and the world had warmed up marginally. The air temperature in the car park at Gullane was a balmy 5 degrees and the sea was up to 4. There were a few waves but nothing much so it was the most swimmable it has been in quite some time. I have been for two "improvers" swimming lessons now. In the first I learned that when I kick my legs without using my arms I go backwards. A bit disappointing that. In the 2nd lesson I discovered that I was the BEST IN CLASS at swimming one-handed with a float in the other hand. I set off up the pool when we'd been told what to do and when I turned round at the far side discovered that the best of the others had not even made it half way yet. What skill! What talent!

So anyway I was trying to apply some of the new things I'd learned, some of the time successfully and other times getting all tangled up and swallowing down the briny sea.

When we were back on the beach Peter kept looking doubtfully at my face. It was off-putting. None of us were looking our best. His face looked like a lobster bulging out of his black hood if it came down to it... It all became clear when he wiped my face with a white towel and a fair amount of dark gritty sand came off my mouth and chin. It appeared I had been sporting an impressive moustache and beard. Peter looked very relieved when it came off and I understood what he had been going on about. It actually gave us fits of uncontrollable giggles. Which helped with getting changed in the chilly carpark.

artist's impression

It was fantastic to have been out and active on such a sunny day. I dropped my book within 30 seconds of getting into bed, swimming off to the far shores of unconsciousness....


Then this morning I had some chores to do. Peter was away to the Devilla forest race. It was beautifully sunny outside and I was ready to go out by lunchtime. I recently got my mountain bike back from the Edinburgh Bike Coop. It went in before Christmas for a major over-haul. It's suspension hadn't worked for years, but being a Cannondale, the headshok would need to be fixed in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, it had been several years of commuting and salty streets in the winter since I last had any work done to the bike, so I booked it in for a service and a new rear cassette and a new chain and a new middle cog at the front. The gears had been slipping for some time, something I'd kind of adjusted to, but it's really annoying. When I finally got it back, to my massive disappointment, the gears were slipping again! I went through a period of denial, hoping it would sort itself out, which of course it didn't, and then took it back to the shop. The chain had a mutant link on it which was making it skip. So on Friday I got my bike back again...this time, hopefully, fully functioning.

For today's "recovery" activities I thought I would test out the bike by taking it round Arthur's Seat, then running once round and then taking the bike round again. It was chillier outside than I had expected, but very bright. My bike was working perfectly although my legs aren't used to riding uphill at that steep an angle. I got a rush topping out and then sweeping around the road that gives a panorama of the East Lothian coast and then the Pentlands and then Edinburgh Castle and all that. I probably haven't cycled that road since the NYD triathlon in 2006. The Seat was bristling with joggers, walkers, fast runners, cyclists and dog walkers. Oh yeah, and geese...

Castle Wolfenstein

 Like all good adventures it ended with me coming home and getting something to eat. I have more chores to do now, actually, but I'm not sure if I'll do them.

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