Swindon Lit Fest (and Running Week in Review 10 May 2015)   4 comments

Last week here, and

Next week here

2015-05-10 week's runs


The Swindon Festival of Literature (yes, there is such a thing and it is one of the annual highlights for us these last several years) started this week and goes on for a fortnight causing some shifts to the running schedule this week.  For instance, Jackie double booked herself a shift at work and a lecture at the Fest on Thursday; since we already had the ticket and I could get out of work for the day I went to see Robert Crawford bloviate on T. S. Eliot for an hour (after, of course, 7.4 miles loping through Wroughton and the farmland west of Wichelstowe).




Crawford made me laugh when he claimed — with obvious pride — to be the first person to publish that “Let us go then, you and I” (from Prufrock, you Philistines) echoes an obliquely similar line from Burns’ Scots Wha Hae and THEN less than a minute later and completely without irony pointed out that other critics can find in poetry any number of bogus symbolisms.  He followed with a couple other examples I found a stretch then listed Eliot’s awards which included the ‘Congressional Medal of Honor‘ (or, as this highest US military award is properly known, the Medal of Honor) — The Waste Land is daunting but I don’t think it really measures up to the standard of valor in the face of the enemy…perhaps he meant the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The athleticism of the Lit Fest veered from the verbal gymnastics and yogi-like oral self-gratification of Professor Crawford to the sporting, professional, political and artistic achievements of a quite wonderful woman named Angela Tuckett (presented by folk singer and President of the Southwestern TUC, Rosie MacGregor).  Well known in Swindon and regional folk music circles, this lady was a real hell raiser and trail blazer.  An attorney, trade unionist, author, poet, and pilot she also caused an international diplomatic incident when, as a member of the England national hockey squad playing a match against Germany in 1935, she not only refused to give a Nazi salute but turned her back on the Hitler Youth during the anthems…I am smitten.  We then faced the walk up the hill with a few beverages at the Beehive where we were lucky enough to hear Jim Blair (who leads this band, usually); the day was definitely a success.


2015-05-07 at the Beehive


We have more tickets for talks next week, but our last one this half was Friday evening (after a short 3½ mile dash across Port Meadow to Binsey and out to Botley to catch the bus at the bottom of Cumnor Hill) with Daisy Christadoulou‘s evisceration of education’s sacred cows.  Her tome, Seven Myths About Education, is not going to win her any friends in the pedantic establishment but as it is short and better written than anything you’ll find here I’ll leave it to you to read it and judge.  Oh, right…I understand she’s also a keen runner, so what’s not to like?

2015-05-04 garden herbs and seed pots


Earlier in the week, I took a rest day from the roadwork on Bank Holiday Monday.  Rest is relative, though, as we turned the garden bedding and started a large number of seeds for late summer flowers (Jackie has been keeping fresh blooms in the house all winter and it will be nice to have our own for a while).  Back in the track shoes Tuesday for 7½ miles (the westbound A420 from Botley to Besselsleigh is still closed and thus my private playground), I got one of the toughest workouts this year jogging into sustained 30 mph headwinds with 50 mph gusts…spectacular, and the winds were nearly as bad for the shorter post-work commuter run Wednesday (same Oxford-to-Botley 3½ miler as Friday, above).

Saturday arrived and I still had no new pubs to add to the blog for the week, so I bussed my ass out to Chippenham to make a loop through Corsham and some nearby villages taking in the Harp and Crown (Gastard), the Neston Country Inn (Neston), and the Great Western (Corsham) eventually logging 15.1 miles which was about my target distance anyway but I got lost in fields that farmers had plowed the paths under, removed the trail markers, and allowed the gates and stiles to be overgrown and thus had to put off the pass through Biddestone until another day.


2015-05-09 Gastard Corsham Neston runs




And, then it was Sunday which I had set aside for the long run of the week (3 hours at leisurely pacing).  It has been ages since I performed even the most rudimentary Hashlamic rituals and I strongly felt the G-Hadic urge so, rather than planning an elaborate circle on the Marlborough Downs or an out-and-back Ridgeway toodle, I spied with my haggard eye a North Wilts HHH trail in nearby Chiselden.  Lacking imagination, the trails set by NWH3 hares are easy to predict but with the distances I’ve built up over the last few months I decided to make this one more like a carpet bombing than a precision strike but, carrying so much extra flour, I soon tired and cut the total time to 2h 15m.  Details, of course, are available at the polemically on-topic blog but here’s the map of the main area (14.1 miles including the 3 or 4 each way to get to and from the site):

2015-05-10 ghad nwh3 chiselden

Highlighted areas received enhanced trail markings




Posted May 10, 2015 by Drunken Bunny in Running

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