“It’s got nothing to do with Vorsprung durch Technik, you know?
(Parklife) and it’s not about you joggers
Who go round and round and round


A marker stone on Oulart Hill, Wexford

Sharp-eyed marketing types will understand why parklife has a lower-case ‘p’ in the title. The rest of you won’t care one bit. The second lot of people; you’re damn right. I’ve spent much of my life on the periphery of marketing and advertising, and most of it you can cheerfully roll up and smoke for all I care. But hey, that seems a bit mean-spirited for the start of a blog post. Let’s leave the marketing folk alone for now. And maybe they’ll leave us alone, too. (Ha! No chance!)

So, another week has drawn to a close. I think, fingers, knees and toes crossed, that I have finally shaken the bug that has been hanging around for the last few weeks. It’s kicked a bit of a hole in the training programme, and I’ve lost some serious miles in what would have been peak sessions of both repeats and distance. But it can’t be helped. I’ll get back into it this week and assess after another week or so, and if it’s just not happening, I’ll reconsider the marathon attempt on New Year’s Eve, and postpone it for another month or so. But as it stands, having spoken to Anto (the race organiser for the New Year’s event), I’m in. So we’ll target that and see how it goes. And let’s not forget, too, how to make God laugh… just tell him your plans for tomorrow.

During the week, we took Saoirse’s best friend Emma out to Howth. For those not in the know, Howth is a fishing harbour on the north side of Howth Head which forms the northern boundary of Dublin Bay. The Head offers a nice walk, and there is the added bonus of a sea swim at Red Rock Beach, and no visit is complete without fish and chips on the pier where you run the gauntlet with the local gull mafia who run a protection racket like no other. Basically, this involves them stealing all your chips. It’s a pretty straightforward heist, really. Your only hope is to run to your car and sit inside, but they will perch on your roof and crap all over your bonnet in protest, so take your pick, really.

We found a little spot to have coffee and buns, and discovered that the Starlings have bought into the racket. Subcontractors, if you like. They mop up the small stuff. Gulls aren’t really into sticky buns, anyway – they prefer the serious fatty food. So I was able to hand-feed a few between mouthfuls of hot chocolate. Apparently, they like crisps. And no doubt some keen ornithologists will be along below to tell me that’s a really poor diet choice for a Starling, but hey, they didn’t seem to mind.

I had not run since last Sunday, when Gary and I knocked out a 13-miler along the canal, so it was fitting to get my next run in on the Saturday just gone with a 5k at Griffeen Park in Lucan to celebrate Gary’s 250th parkrun. Ah, the best laid plans; I had intended to jog down to the track, which is about 4k away, run, and then jog home, but I dawdled too long on Twitter over breakfast, then couldn’t find my parkrun barcode for the timing folk, so in the end, I had to drive down. Still, it was nice to get out and stretch the legs a bit. Managed a 22.31, which was good enough, considering the few weeks just gone. We repaired to a local hostelry (okay, so we went to Starbucks) and had more hot chocolate and buns to celebrate, and then it was home, shower and change, and off on the road again towards Wexford, to stay with our dear friend Fiona.

We had a lovely meal on Saturday night, and despite feeling a wee bit groggy the next morning, I took off for a run while the house slept, and managed a 10k, taking in Oulart Hill and the village before turning tail and coming back the same way. And that included a negative split too, so happy out, as they say around these parts. I have posted about this route before, and you can read that magnificent work here.

After a decent Irish breakfast, courtesy of Saoirse, we went to a local beach (Blackwater) and S, Fiona and her son Jonah got in for a swim. My running shenanigans didn’t really give me a pass from the icy grey water, but I decided I had done enough, and settled for taking photos instead. I mean, someone had to document the event, right? Otherwise, it never happened…

And then we drove home, and it’s now Sunday, and another week has come and gone, and suddenly the World Corruption… oops, sorry, I meant the World Cup has kicked off. The Autumn International Rugby Series has ended for Ireland with a clean sweep of victories, and we rather bizarrely find ourselves still ranked as World Number One. It only really matters when we hit the World Cup next year, in France, so we’ll see what that ranking means, if anything at all.

Next up, Christmas. Well, my birthday is technically next up in a week, if you are only moving in the small circles of my family. But now is a good time to think of presents for your nearest and dearest. Don’t leave it too late. But also consider shopping locally, if I may be a tremendous bore for a second. Those rich fuckers on the internet really don’t need any more of your money. That said, I think the T-shirt below would be great for Jim.

And while we’re on the subject of memes (well, I was, anyway), here’s another funny one from this week’s haul:

And there you have it, folks. Some salient advice from this garrulous-looking gent. And that only leaves us with dogs. So here are a few from the week that was:

3 thoughts on “parklife

  1. What a fine post. As I remember, we were lucky in 2003 – we’d been the best but were on the slide by the time of the world cup … but just managed to get it done. May next year’s come quick enough for you too (unless you’re still on an upward trajectory, of course).

    Liked by 1 person

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